MP called raising electricity tariffs a shameful measure
Photo © Adilbek Tauekelov / Kazpravda.kz
Majilis deputy from the Kazakhstan People's Party faction, Gaziz Kulakhmetov is outraged by the 15 percent rise in electricity tariffs and believes that the arguments of the Energy Ministry about the need to repair worn-out networks do not stand up to criticism. He made the corresponding parliamentary inquiry at the plenary session in Majilis, Kazpravda.kz correspondent reports.
The deputy recalled that during the pandemic in the country, the purchasing power of the population is already below any limits, food prices surge, so do tariffs and services, fuels and lubricants.
"According to the February poll of the Center for Social and Political Research "Strategy", 44% of the respondents said that the economic situation in the country is bad or very bad. In 2020, there were 14% of them, and, for example, in 2009 - 15%. The financial situation of the families was called bad and very poor by 26%. And 13% said that there is not enough money even for food, which is essentially an indicator of poverty. And those who “have enough for food, but not enough for clothes,” for the first time since 2004, make 35%,” Gaziz Kulakhmetov cited the data.
The last straw, the deputy believes, was the statement of the Energy Ministry on the increase from April 1 of the maximum tariffs of HPPs by 15%.
"They explain this shameful measure by the need to upgrade equipment, the wear of which is 53%! Allegedly, electricity producers do not even have enough funds for repairs, and still need to raise salaries for employees and incur other costs. That is, there is a situation where monopolists, as usual, solve their problems at the expense of consumers, raising the marginal tariffs ", the deputy resented.
He recalled that the amendments adopted in 2012 on the electric power industry, investment activities of natural monopoly entities and the regulated market should have allowed to maintain a balance of interests of consumers, businesses and the state.
"It is clearly stated that service providers are required to invest in equipment and modernize their capacities in time. However, in November 2018, at the Security Council meeting, then President Nursultan Nazarbayev criticized the energy industry and called tariff increases a crime. He noted that the monopolists had earned in 7 years, billions of tenge, promising to modernize production. But instead of investing and renewing capacities, large energy companies unlawfully enriched themselves at the expense of consumers, "the deputy went on to say.
He recalled that the cost of services included bonuses, employee bonuses, loan benefits, and also unreasonably high production costs.
“Then the question of the validity of the existing tariffs arose, and the president ordered to revise the tariffs for electricity. There was a decrease in the maximum value of the tariff for capacity - from 700 000 tenge to 590 000 tenge per 1 MW. And the then Minister of Energy Bozumbayev promised that the tariffs for electricity will not be raised until 2025. The approach of the Energy Ministry was then conceptually supported by the Government, "Gaziz Kulkhametov emphasized.
At the same time, he states, no one understands what costs are included in the tariff for the production of electricity, there is no transparency and openness in decision-making.
“The Ministry of Energy is an industry regulator. It turns out that the Ministry of Energy itself gives permission and itself controls compliance with the legislation requirements. There is a fragmentation of the relevant bodies, absence of a single regulator, "- said the deputy.
In this regard, he proposes to create a single body, combining some functions of the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of National Economy, to transfer regulatory functions to it for the approval of utility tariffs; transfer the created body under the control of the president; introduce price regulation of the cost of coal, as the main factor in the rise in the cost of electricity and heat, and fix the current price for commercial and liquefied gas until 2025.