TRANSPARENCY AZERBAIJAN AND “AZERIGAS” DISCUSSED TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN GAS SUPPLY

Posted by: | Posted on: Декабрь 25, 2015

12095141_1018740198146822_1133660211722103615_oOn 24 December 2015, Transparency Azerbaijan Public Anti-corruption Association, with support from U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), organized a roundtable to discuss protection of the rights of consumers, increasing transparency and ways to solve problems in gas supply. The roundtable was the next in a series organized by Transparency Azerbaijan to facilitate dialogue between the government institutions and NGOs on ways to increase transparency and accountability.
Participants included the representatives of SOCAR, Ministry of Economy and Industry, Ministry of Emergency Situations, Head Anti-corruption Department under Prosecutor General’s Office, Ministry of Energy, and other public agencies – providers of utilities and NGOs. Rena Safaralieva, executive director of Transparency Azerbaijan welcomed the event participants. She said that most of the problems encountered by consumers of utilities are related to supply of gas.
Mirafgan Aghalarov, deputy-head of Baku Regional Gas Exploitation Department of Azerigas spoke of the efforts of the supplier to enhance the quality of the services and increase transparency, such as increase in the number of standard contracts concluded between the supplier and the consumer, acceleration of installation of the meters to read pre-paid smart-card gas, and other efforts made and reforms conducted in this area of service. Afterwards Anar Jabrayilli, head of Public Relations Sector at Azersu OJSC and Venera Asgarova, lawyer at Human Resources Department of Azerishiq OJSC spoke about reforms undertaken and achievements attained in their respective organizations.
Alekper Agasiyev, an expert on the utilities sector talked about violations of the consumers’ rights by Azerigas in the process of gas supply. Those include calculation by gas inspectors of illegal debts for the consumption of unrealistic quantities of gas that are alleged to be consumed.
He underlined the importance of tight control by suppliers over their staff members, and gave several recommendations, including those aimed to attend to legal loopholes. Also, A.Agasiyev underlined that Azerigas does not have its own website, and therefore little education material is available to general public, such as, for example, information on how to re-activate blocked smart card meters, and etc.
The participants praised the value in this exchange of views between government and civil society. A package of documents with recommendations prepared by our organization was submitted to the relevant public agencies and the service provider, as well as the round table participants.

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