Abashidze Hopes His Defeat of the Bank of Georgia’s Take-Over Bid of Georgia Water and Power Will Be a Victory for Tbilisi Consumers
TBILISI— Free Democrats City Council Vice-Chairman visited the sprawling new Saburtalo headquarters of the Bank of Georgia on Tuesday to send a warning to the monopoly Georgia Water and Power that they had better not raise water prices on hard-pressed Tbilisi citizens.
“For more than a month I have been seeking answers about what was widely rumored to be the imminent sale of the water distribution asset of Georgia Water and Power, the monopoly that provides Tbilisi residents with both water and electricity. My search led me here, to the Bank of Georgia, which news reports indicated was about to buy the water asset from GWP, which has yet to demonstrate that it’s lived up to its investment obligations under the 2008 privatization deal. That would mean only one thing: higher prices on consumers once the bank tried to maximize the value of this asset.”
As a result of Abashidze’s visit, the Bank of Georgia denied it was buying GWP’s water asset.
“This victory for Tbilisi consumers may only be a temporary one unless we become more vigilant about keeping monopolies in check,” Abashidze said. “It’s very clear that this Mayor, and this government have no interest in protecting consumers against monopolies that jack up prices whenever they choose. We have no choice, then, but to protect ourselves.”