Control and accountability to all water providers for consumer protection requested by the Minister of Environment and Energy
“Water was and remains a public good and is not privatized. The bill that is being discussed is necessary, because in public monopolies there must be control and supervision, as well as regulation of their pricing policy by the State in order to protect consumers”. These were underlined, among others, by the Minister of Environment and Energy, Kostas Skrekas, speaking in the Parliament, on the request of unconstitutionality filed by SYRIZA.
The PEN Minister proceeded with a complete reconstruction of the non-existent claims of the opposition regarding the alleged “privatization” of water. Kostas Skrekas also highlighted the need for accountability of water management bodies and presented evidence that clearly shows the need for supervision and control in this specific field.
In more detail, the Minister of Environment and Energy, speaking to the Parliament in the context of the unconstitutionality review filed by SYRIZA, stated, among other things, the following:
“It is not mentioned anywhere in the report of the scientific service of the Parliament that the provisions of the bill to be voted on are unconstitutional. Why are we moving forward with this legislative initiative? Because especially when we have public monopolies, there needs to be both the regulation of the pricing policy and the control and supervision of the services they provide.
The state does not delegate any water policy planning authority to a regulatory authority. It is explicitly stated in the bill that the Ministry of Environment and Energy is the competent body that draws up the policy for the protection and management of water.
We assign only supervisory and control responsibilities to the Regulatory Authority. In no case do we assign the determination of the pricing policy.
It is clear: No present or future privatization of water management agencies is planned or concealed.
Water is not a marketable commodity. We protect the accountability of water management bodies and transparency, in favor of consumers.
For the first time in Greece, the field of Regulatory and Audit supervision of the entities that have the exclusive right to provide water services in the geographical area of their local jurisdiction, i.e. municipalities, legal entities under public law (OTA, DEYA), etc. is regulated in a coherent manner.
There are currently 295 water bodies. Only 38% post the information they should and we don’t even know if they systematically measure the quality of the water they provide to citizens.
According to data stated by DEYA themselves, they have losses of up to 62%. There are TWO utilities that charge twice as much water to their citizens, based on the data they report.
An Independent Public Regulatory Authority is a public audit. Why does SYRIZA want this control and supervision to remain in the General Directorate of Environment? Is it for the respective Minister and the respective government to decide whether to impose fines on the Municipalities? These are bribes, not those that the opposition accuses us of without proof.
2015-2019: SYRIZA government, a total of only 9 fines were imposed. 2019-2020: ND Government, a total of 62 fines were imposed”.
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