Web Portal on Human Rights in Georgia

Conflict between consumers and gas distribution company will continue in the court

10.01.2018
 
Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli

Dispute between one part of the Gori population and Gori service center of the Ltd Socar Georgia Gas was caused by the communal bills the locals received in the end of December, 2017. The population claimed that in comparison to November, 2017 their December communal costs on gas were doubled and up to 100 citizens publicly protested it. 

“We did not spend more natural air this month but we received the doubled communal bill, that is unreal,” Nodar Khutsishvili said.

On January 4, protest demonstration was held in front of the Gori service center of the Ltd Socar Georgia. The demonstrators requested to half-reduce December communal bills. They broke into the working room of the manager, and argued with him. One of the protesters wrote “gas-lifters” on the board in the manager’s room.

“We request the company to send information about the used natural gas together with the bill amount in their messages to consumers. It is obscure how they calculate the bill and why we received doubled bills this month. We demand to find out why we received increased bills and to cut the extra funds from them. The company claims they are not going to satisfy our request. We will not put up with this injustice and will use all legal instruments,” Gori resident Mariam Bzishvili said.

Socar Georgia Gas Gori service center manager Giga Grigalashvili offered the consumers to study their individual cases separately and to find out the origin of the increased costs. The population mistrusted his offer and appealed the Energy Ombudsman for help.

“Mistakes can be in several bills. 10-15 consumers could receive incorrect bills but I can assure you that it cannot have systemic character,” Giga Grigalashvili said, who suggested the protesters to compare the December costs with the same period costs last year instead previous month.

From December 2016 to December 2017 the price of one cubic meter of natural air has increased with 11 tetri. 
Despite the clarifications, the population state the Socar Georgia Gas imposed unfair costs on them in December. 
On January 5, Energy Ombudsman, representatives of the Georgian National Communications Commission, Ministry of Energy and Socar Georgia Gas met the part of the consumers. The Energy Ombudsman Salome Vardiashvili left application forms to the consumers and advised to file administrative complaint to the company. Before the problem is resolved, the distribution company will not cut off the gas supply for the consumers because of unpaid bill, who protest the communal bills.

On January 8, in Gori center, part of the Gori population organized a protest demonstration with slogan Socar - Stop Robbing the People; they requested the prosecutor’s office to investigate the fact. Initially the chairperson of the Gori municipal assembly Davit Razmadze met the protesters; later the municipality mayor Konstantine Tavzarashvili also met the people. 

Part of the consumers will file joint appeal to the court against the Gori service center of the Socar Georgia Gas. 

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