At the plenary session of 30 October 2013, the deputies of the Parliament of Georgia discussed the issue of raising fines on illegal logging. Member of the Parliamentary Minority Giorgi Vashadze professed his opinion on the matter and voiced his doubts concerning the efficacy of the raised fines as they would become an excessive burden to villagers, especially in the conditions when “the gasification process in villages has been suspended throughout the whole of Georgia” and the population is compelled to use firewood in the winter.Aiming to shed more light on the matter, FactCheck
looked deeper into the subject of gasification.
Our Parliamentary correspondent spoke to Giorgi Vashadze and inquired about the foundation upon which the MP made the statement. As reported by the MP he holds no specific statistical data on the matter although he claimed to have witnessed the suspended gasification work on numerous occasions upon his visits to different regions of Georgia in the course of the current year.
The website of the Ministry of Energy of Georgia presents the gasification plan of the country’s regions for 2013-2014. The plan projects the gasification of 65,401 households in 2013.
In the course of our research we requested from the Ministry updated statistical data on the work of the current year (as of 1 November 2013). According to the data, the gasification process reached out to 31,109 users across Georgia in the period between January and November of 2013 which amounts to roughly half of the work planned for the current year. It is to be noted that the gasification of Racha-Lechkhumi and Lower Svaneti was not envisaged in the plan although 300 users from these regions were nonetheless included in the process.
Gasification Work (Number of Users/Households)
|Plan 2013||Work completed by 1 November 2013 (including unplanned settlements)||Ongoing work (including those to be completed in 2014)|
|Autonomous Republic of Ajara||2,450||2,450||-|
|Racha-Lechkhumi and Lower Svaneti||-||300||-|
As concerns our research topic in particular, as mentioned above, since the beginning of the current year until 1 November the gasification process was completed in 31,109 households while the plan for 2013 foresaw the gasification of 65,401 households. The end of the year is only two months away and, therefore, it is safe to say that the plan very well might fail to be completed. We addressed the Ministry of Energy to receive clarifications on the matter but the Ministry representative could not provide a definite answer on whether or not the gasification of 34,292 households would be completed by the end of the year.At the end of the last year (2013), FactCheck
returned to the topic of gasification and requested from the Ministry the relevant statistical data on the subject. Pursuant to the information received from the Ministry, a total of 57,733 users were granted access to natural gas in 2013. Naturally, we inquired what had caused such a drastic upturn in the number of users in the last two months of the year. The Ministry’s spokesperson clarified for us that the rise in the numbers had been prompted by two main reasons: according to the general tendency, the pace of gasification activities increases during the final months of the year and the companies responsible for the implementation of gasification activities usually fail to provide the Ministry with comprehensive statistical data upon a monthly basis and mainly summarise the final indices of their work at the end of the year.FactCheck
inquired about the situation in the previous years as well. We intended to establish the number of households whose gasification was planned for 2011 and 2012, determine what percentage of those was completed in the first ten months of those years and compare these figures with the similar indicators of the current year. Unfortunately, the intended analysis could not be made as the Ministry informed us that they hold no monthly statistical data and plans of the past years.
It might be of interest to the reader to get acquainted with the general information on the process of gasification in Georgia. According to the Minister of Energy Kakha Kaladze, a total of 200,000 households in Georgia still do not have access to natural gas. The Minister further asserts that the process of gasification will finally be completed by 2016. By virtue of the negotiations between the Ministry and the companies implementing the gasification process,the people in the regions are given a chance to cover the costs required for the installation of gas pipes in their homes gradually, in the course of several years, with a minimal initial payment of GEL 25 (the installation of natural gas pipes at homes costs GEL 600). This initiative was voiced by Kakha Kaladze at a briefing held on 22 May.
Conclusion The examination of Giorgi Vashadze’s statement revealed that in 2013 the Ministry planned the gasification of 65,401 new households in the regions of Georgia. By 1 November (when Giorgi Vashadze made the statement) the gasification process was completed in only 31,109 households which amounts to about half of the total yearly plan. At the end of the past year FactCheck
returned to the topic of gasification. We requested the complete statistical data on the work completed in 2013 according to which a total of 57,733 users were granted access to natural gas in 2013.As clarified by the Ministry, the surmountable difference between the indicators of the ten months and the whole year of 2013 is caused by the existing glitches in the maintaining of monthly statistical records. The companies responsible for gasification work present the comprehensive data on their work only at the end of the year which produces notable differences with the incomplete data of separate months. It is also to be noted that the Ministry of Energy represents FactCheck’s only source on the matter of gasification activities as we are unable to legally oblige any of the companies performing gasification activities to provide statistical data on their work. Obviously, FactCheck
made various attempts at obtaining information from these private companies but they refused to provide us with the relevant data. Nonetheless, we will pursue examining the process of gasification and in the case of new circumstances being uncovered we will communicate the updated information to the reader.
In reference to Giorgi Vashadze’s statement in particular, as mentioned above, the official statistical data reports that 57,733 users were given access to natural gas in 2013. It is evident, therefore, that the plan put forward in the previous year (65,401) has not been fully accomplished but most of the activities (roughly at 90%) have been completed. It is also to be noted that according to the Ministry’s spokesperson, this data is yet to be adjusted and the number of people whom the gasification process has reached could increase further after more specified information on the matter is obtained. Accordingly, Giorgi Vashadze’s claims that the gasification process throughout the whole of the country has been suspended are false, especially considering the fact that the MP is not relying upon any statistical data.Based upon the data available to us at this stage, we conclude that Giorgi Vashadze’s statement: “The gasification process in villages has been suspended throughout the whole of Georgia,” is fairly exaggerated and FALSE.
Editor’s Note: The initial version of the given article was published on 25 November 2013. At that moment, we did not hold comprehensive statistical data upon the work completed in 2013. Therefore, we decided to return to the subject at the end of the year. At the beginning of this year (2014), we requested from the Ministry of Energy the complete data on the activities of the past year. Pursuant to the newly acquired information, 57,733 users were given access to natural gas in 2013. After due analysis of the updated data, we decided to revise the published article. Consequently, the article has been corrected and FactCheck’s ruling has changed as well.