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Over the recent days a mass of applications from the citizens of Avdiivka was registered by the telephone hotline of the CF “Right to Protection” office in Slovyansk. Besides the usual questions from the inhabitants of the city destroyed by military actions, every caller asked for advice on paying the recalculated sums of gas consumption for the period from April 2016 till January 2016.

We’d like to remind that the District Administrative Court of Kyiv cancelled Order No.237 of the Cabinet of Ministers which halved the gas consumption norms for people who had no metering devices. This Order had been in effect from April 29th, 2015 till January 28th, 2016.  But after the court ruling, the norm reduced by the Cabinet of Ministers to 3 CBM/month per person who has a gas stove and to 9 CBM/month per person who has a gas heater grew in retrospect to 6 CBM/month and 18 CBM/month respectively.

Thus the gas supplier demands that the people should pay their “debts” for the previous period up to UAH 1.500 on average depending on the number of residents registered in the accommodation.

“This is a typical problem for all the Ukrainians, however it’s gained additional sense for the citizen of the front-line town,” shared Yulia Tralo, a legal coordinator of the CF “Right to Protection”. “During this exact period of the CMU Order, many of the dwellers left Avdiivka due to military actions and registered as IDPs in other regions.  Those who stayed did not live in their houses, because they were forced to hide in basements for weeks.  In some houses the gas pipes had been damaged so in fact people couldn’t use the service.”

For the most part those who live in Avdiivka today have either come back home having spent all their savings within a year or a year and a half or have miserly income, pensions which are not even enough to settle current utility bills.

“With the help from the local Humanitarian Mission “Prolisok” headquarters the citizens of Avdiivka were notified in advance that on October 26th, an on-site counselling will be held by the lawyers of the CF “Right to Protection”, says monitor Maryna Kravchyna. “We arrived in Avdiivka early in the morning and couldn’t believe what we saw. There were more than 100 persons waiting for us near the school where the counselling was to take place. Some people had been standing in line since 4 in the morning.”

We’d like to note that the on-site counselling is held in Avdiivka by the employees of the CF “Right to Protection” twice a month on Wednesdays and takes 3 hours on average. But that day the lawyers decided to continue until their last client.

According to the lawyer of the CF “Right to Protection” Margaryta Oksanichenko the number of people in queue was growing over time. Those who had received aid notified their neighbours and acquaintances. By 5 p.m. the lawyers had given consultations to 165 applicants on the “gas matter” alone! Moreover, almost every client asked additional questions which were no less important – lost documents, destroyed houses, debts for loans, labour disputes etc.

The elderly people were the majority, thus required additional help to prepare their documents according to the ready-made examples.

“It’s so good that our colleagues from the monitoring and legal team joined us and helped with the counselling,” comments the lawyer of the CF “Right to Protection” Herman Petrov. “Next week we are planning to have another on-site counselling in Avdiivka. There are still lots of people who need legal aid.”

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