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On 10 December 2014, at the plenary session of the Parliament of Georgia, Majoritarian MP from Chkhorotsku, Vakhtang Lemonjava, discussed the problems of his constituency. He asserted: “Approximately one-fourth of the region’s population still do not have their individual meters installed. The metering process should have been over by the spring of 2013. The General Secretary of the Georgian Dream, Mr Kaladze, lied to hundreds of people from Chkhorotsku on the eve of the local elections day when he promised that the process of the gasification of Chkhorotsku was about to start in a week. However, it has not even been scheduled.”

FactCheck

took interest in this statement and inquired about the situation regarding the metering and gasification processes in Chkhorotsku.

We sent an official letter to the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia and requested information on the status of the gasification and metering processes in the Chkhorotsku district.

According to the reply from the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia, a total of 7,813 customers in Chkhorotsku were scheduled to have their individual meters installed. According to the plan, the metering process should be completed by 2015. As of 1 December 2014, 6,634 customers in Chkhorotsku already had their individual meters installed. In total, for the whole period of 2014 (as of 1 December), 545 customers from Chkhorotsku had their individual meters installed. According to the plan for 2015, an additional 516 customers from Chkhorotsku will have their individual meters installed.

As indicated by the schedule posted on the website of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia, 527 customers in Chkhorotsku’s Akhuti village and 32 customers in Chkhorotsku’s Nogha village were to have had their individual meters installed by 2013. The schedule for 2014 still has Akhuti’s 527 customers on the waiting list. Further, 118 customers from the village of Nakiani and 561 customers from the village of Napichkhovo were also added to that list. According to the information obtained from the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia, 545 customers from Chkhorotsku had their individual meters installed in 2013 whereas the schedule was to install individual meters for a total of 1,206 customers for that period including those from the village of Akhuti (this village was included in the plan for 2013 as well). The numbers indicate that the metering process clearly falls behind schedule. The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia issued us an explanation and clarified that the metering process for those remaining customers should be completed by the end of March 2015. This information appears unrealistic (considering the metering pace for 2014, when only 545 customers received their individual meters, it seems impossible for the installation of individual meters for 661 customers in four months to take place given that the speed of the metering process remains the same).

According to information obtained by FactCheck,

there are 1,177 customers without individual meters in Chkhorotsku which constitutes one-sixth of the total number of customers (7,813) in the district. In respect to when the metering process will be brought to completion, according to the reply from the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia, a memorandum with the Energo-pro Georgia company says that the metering process in the district will be completed in 2015. This information was confirmed by company representatives.

Additionally, we interviewed MP Vakhtang Lemonjava who declared once again that the metering process in Chkhorotsku was scheduled to be completed by 2013 although he did not offer documentation in support of his assertion. Therefore, we cannot prove the accuracy of this particular part of the MP’s statement.

Concerning the gasification process in Chkhorotsku, we previously published an article on this topic last year. Considering the information obtained from the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia at that time, the gasification of Chkhorotsku was not planned for the period of 2013-2014. We sent an official letter to the Municipality of Chkhorotsku as well and requested information about the status of the process. According to the reply we received, the gasification programme for Chkhorotsku was scheduled to launch in 2015. FactCheck

addressed the same question to the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia which replied that natural gas distribution companies were still working to make a gasification schedule for Georgia for 2015 and, therefore, the information on whether or not Chkhorotsku would be included in the gasification schedule for 2015 would be available later.

Concerning the other part of the MP’s statement, regarding the promise made by the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia on the day before the local elections that the gasification process in Chkhorotsku was to start in a few days, we obtained a video recording from Vakhtang Lemonjava himself.

In this video, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia, Kakha Kaladze, is giving a promise to the voters from Chkhorostku in June 2014 (before the local elections) that the gasification process in the district would start in a few days. However, the gasification schedule for 2014 did not even include Chkhorotsku. There is no similar plan for 2015 either.

Conclusion

In total, 7,813 customers in the Chkhorotsku district were scheduled to have their individual meters installed. As of1 December 2014, 6,636 customers had their individual meters installed. There are 1,177 customers without individual meters which constitute one-sixth of the total number of customers and not one-fourth (as claimed by the MP). According to both the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and Energo-pro Georgia, the metering process will be completed in 2015.

According to the schedule, 516 customers will have their individual meters installed in 2015. The remaining 661 customers (from 2014’s schedule) are set to have their individual meters installed as well which will be finished before March 2015 as declared by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia. Taking into account the fact that only 545 customers had their individual meters installed in 2014 instead of the 1,206 customers as was originally scheduled, the prospect of completion of the metering process (for 1,177 customers) in 2015 is dim.

Regarding the process of gasification in Chkhorotsku, there is no final gasification schedule for 2015 and, therefore, it is impossible to say whether or not Chkhorotsku will be gasified. We tried to double-check the gasification schedule with the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia once again. According to the reply we received, the schedule’s preparation is still in progress and will be uploaded immediately on the Ministry’s website once it is finished. However, it must be noted that Kakha Kaladze promised the voters to start the gasification process from the summer of 2014.

According to FactCheck, MP Vakhtang Lemonjava’s statement is MOSTLY TRUE.