At the autumn session of the Parliament held on 20 November 2013, Georgian Dream coalition member Davit Onoprishvili spoke about the fulfilled pre-election promises and reduced tariffs: “No other government could have possibly fulfilled as many promises as our Government did in the very first year of taking office with Bidzina Ivanishvili in the lead. The price for electricity was reduced by 20% and gas became cheaper by 10%.”FactCheck inquired if the pre-election promises regarding electricity and gas tariffs had indeed been fulfilled after the Georgian Dream’s coming into office. We would also like to note that in his speech, Onoprishvili discussed the government’s fulfilled promises in the field of agriculture as well but as this matter has been explored by FactCheck
on multiple occasions, this article will focus solely upon the issue of tariffs.
The reduction of utility payments was an important part of the pre-election campaign of the Georgian Dream coalition led by Bidzina Ivanishvili. On 16 September 2012,Ivanishvili declared on air on Channel 9 TV: “The current payments in Georgia could be halved right from tomorrow. Georgia has very cheap electric energy; we have many hydroelectric power plants which produce cheap electric energy. As for gas, we are granted a sizable amount of gas free-of-charge as this pipeline goes through our territory. Furthermore, we purchase gas from Azerbaijan for a low price. The commercial price is very low, as low as half of what citizens are paying at the moment. Putting all the abovementioned together, in the best course of events the price for gas could be shrunk to a third.”As gathered from this statement, in the case of his winning the elections, Bidzina Ivanishvili planned to slash the tariff for electricity by half while natural gas payments were to see a three-fold reduction. Apart from the statement of the coalition leader, FactCheck
examined the elections programme of the Georgian Dream as well which also discusses the matter of utility tariffs. The said plan indicates that in the shortest time after winning the elections, the coalition would newly calculate tariffs to ensure fair and significantly reduced prices on utilities.
According to Davit Onoprishvili, it is precisely this promise which has been fulfilled by Bidzina Ivanishvili and his government.
It is to be noted that on 22 November 2012,Ivanishvili made the following comment with regard to the abovementioned promise:“In the nearest future, we will probably manage to reduce electricity and gas tariffs and also clarify that, apparently, the expected halving will not work and our expectations were exaggerated. I made several statements on this matter. I wasn’t repeating them often, however, but I spoke about the reduction of tariffs and that we might be able to reduce tariffs. But as for halving, I can tell you already that this will not work.”
As can be understood from Ivanishvili’s statement of 22 November, two months after obtaining a victory in the elections, he himself refuted the possibility of his promise being accomplished.After the Georgian Dream’s coming to power, the tariff for natural gas shrunk from 51 tetri down to 46 tetri starting from 1 March which makes for a decrease of 5 tetri (10% reduction). The electricity tariff was reduced by 3.54 tetri. The tariff for those of Telasi customers who consumed energy of up to 100 KW equalled 13.48 tetri whereas now it equals 9.94 tetri (26.26% decrease). For customers consuming energy between 100 KW and 300 KW, the tariff amounted to 12.46 tetri (22.12% decrease). Subscribers of Energo Pro Georgia had to pay 12.98 tetri when consuming up to 100 KW whereas now they pay 9.44 tetri (27.27% reduction). From 100 KW to 300 KW, the tariff used to be 16.52 tetri
and was reduced to 12.98 tetri (21.42% cut).
Bidzina Ivanishvili’s promise voiced on 16 September 2012, stating that electricity tariffs would be halved and natural gas tariffs would see a three-fold cut, failed to be fulfilled. Soon after assuming victory at the parliamentary elections, Ivanishvili made a statement regarding the infeasibility of his promise. As of the elections programme of the Georgian Dream, it never specified the reduction of tariffs as halving but nevertheless emphasises that tariffs would be significantly reduced.
After the change of government, electricity and gas tariffs were indeed reducedby 10 and 20-27%, respectively. This gives us no ground, however, to assert that the new government with Ivanishvili in the lead fully accomplished the promisesmade on utility payments as the witnessed reduction is not consistent with the promises voiced by Ivanishvili and included in the Georgian Dream’s elections programme. Ivanishvili spoke about the halving of tariffs and, naturally, the “significant reduction” mentioned in the elections programme was identified with Ivanishvili’s promise.Notwithstanding the fact that the MP correctly indicates the reduction of tariffs by 10% and 20%, he uses the data in the context of a misleading assertion. We conclude, therefore, that Davit Onoprishvili’s statement: “No other government could have possibly fulfilled as many promises as our government did in the very first year of taking office with Bidzina Ivanishvili in the lead. The price for electricity was reduced by 20% and gas became cheaper by 10%,” is MOSTLY FALSE.