Gas (or not) Odessa

February 26, 2017

With the government of Ukraine having gone to very unpopular lengths to raise gas (and other utility prices) dramatically, having attempted to remove the opaque and dubious “middlemen” within the gas supply chain and also remove the oligarchical gas consumption privileges and notwithstanding the concerted efforts to put meters in for all consumers, a reader may rightly think the scope for ripping off the Ukrainian users by those with vested interests in gas has become more limited.

Ho humm!  How to create illicit revenue for vested interests when the room for schemes and scams has been reduced?

In Odessa, it appears that Odessagaz, owned by (the Odessa Don of Dons) Alexander (Angel) Angert and Igor Uchitel (no doubt with many other silent shareholders), may have found a way.

It seems that while the gas meters are busily clicking over and measuring more usage that in previous years, it is taking far longer to heat a home and cook this year.  Residents are noticing not only a recorded increase in gas usage, but that the gas flame deviates from its normal blue.

A reader, like many in Odessa, may come to the conclusion that there is far less gas in the gas – and thus more is used and UAH millions billed monthly for far lower quality/purity of gas.

Naturally such an issue should be easy to check as to whether something is being added to the gas supply to reduce the gas content yet continue to keep those meters busily racking up Odessagaz profits – except the lawful authority when it comes to checking gas supplied by Odessagaz is, it appears, Odessagaz.

If that be true, and it appears to be the case prima facie, it is perhaps time for a national Regulator with, among its powers, the authority and ability to test gas quality throughout production, transportation, delivery and consumption – and hold companies accountable.

Time to close another grubby little gas manipulation hole that appears to have been left open and seemingly exploited in Odessa.  Whether that hole be closed under the auspices of health and safety or corruption is a matter for the legislators.

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