Ukraine has committed itself to completely liberalize the gas supply market to domestic consumers and to provide conditions for competition in this segment. This means that every household consumer has the right to freely choose a supplier of gas from several companies on the market. How and where to look for this independent supplier, how the transition goes and why you need to change it – Anastasiia agreed to tell Kosatka.Media – one of the first Ukrainians, according to her, who took the opportunity to switch from the regional gas company to to an independent company- gas supplier.
Anastasiia, why did you decide to change the gas supplier?
Focusing on the experience of European countries – we have already come to the point to have such a service at home. When I was abroad, I realized that I was impressed by the opportunity to choose an independent gas supplier. We will not develop this structure with a monopolist; we will stay where we are.
I was in South Africa. They have several utility providers. And their services can even be pre-paid. Just buy a scratch card in the store and thus replenish your utility bill. And when I realized that our state was also coming to a market model of the utility sector, I, of course, took this opportunity of choice. And I was one of the first, who chose an independent gas supplier.
How did you choose a supplier? Where did you look for it?
On the Web. I googled it looked, which companies are engaged in this. The Viber community, to which my friends invited me, also helped. There was a discussion on what kind of gas suppliers we have on the market. What did you focus on when choosing? What was most important to you? Convenience of service. Service via the Internet, apps. In other words – digitalization. The price of gas was not even the main thing.
How did the transition to a new supplier work?
Not so easy. It was a many-month saga. I did not receive a notice about the transition to a new supplier in the regional gas company.
How did they explain it?
They did not understand at all that this procedure could be with a household consumer. They were surprised why I came to them. They asked me five times - “Are you sure that this is possible at all?” I found a link to the resolution on the phone and showed them. Then I was sent to another department. There, too, they were surprised, asked again five times, whether I am sure that this is possible. And these refusals concerned ignorance.
I brought a message to the supplier about the intentions of the change to their reception at the end of May 2019. There they explained to me that the change of supplier takes 21 days. Therefore the same company has to provide supplies for June. My repeated message was accepted on June 10th. And in July I already received a new supplier.
At the end of June, I gave meters for the past month. Then they signed an act of reconciliation of settlements with the "old" supplier.
And then I was waiting for a surprise in the form of an invoice issued by regional gas company for UAH 502.71 of additional payment. It’s like a “scaling factor”. And it was necessary to pay it within 3 days, otherwise they indicated that they would turn off gas supply.
I had to ask the National Energy and Utilities Regulatory Commission – what kind of payment was it. They explained that there had to be no extra charge. Therefore, I did not pay it.
Why weren’t you afraid of this difficult process?
I understood that being a pioneer is difficult. I knew that this would not be an easy way. Of course, when I was refused for the first time, I thought that there was no time to do this. But then I changed my mind.
Now you already see the changes. What are they?
Change in price. The second nuance – it’s convenient for me to pay. In the app, I can enter the meters and pay with a card. This is convenient for me – I do not go to banks, I always use only a card. Also – I do not pay the tariff for payments.
How much less are the numbers in the bill?
If to compare with my parents, they have a tariff of 7.08 (per cubic meter of gas – ed.), I pay 5.42.
Aren't you afraid that the gas market is likely to increase in price?
If gas goes up in price, as I understand it, it will go up in price of all suppliers, not just mine. Because the price on the market is based on market conditions. But I do not think that it will be higher that of regional gas companies.