Losses in heat networks and the systemic underfunding of the sector — the expert of the Analytical Center Evgeny Gasho spoke about the challenges the energy sector faces and whether it is possible to solve them during the summer preventive cutoffs in his interview to RIA Novosti.
Heat loss costs are only partially included in the rate
For instance, heat losses in the Ulianovsk region in 2016 were estimated at 9.5 % of the total volume of energy allotted to consumers in the region, as reported by the periodical with reference to publications on the development of the region's electric power industry for 2018-2022. The largest portion of heat, 55 % of the allotted volume, is used by the local population. Such rates are far from the highest, Mr. Gasho says. If the network is in normal condition, losses drop to 3-4 %. 7-9 % losses are considered average. Losses of 20 or even 30 percent occur in severely deteriorated heating systems.
The wear of heat networks is one the main causes of heat losses. Perennial underfunding and lack of maintenance also affect the situation badly. For instance, in Rubtsovsk, Altai Krai, about 950 damages of the city's heating networks were repaired during the heating season (October 3 — April 25), with an average of 4-5 defects per day. According to the materials examined by the author, in the Ulyanovsk region, the probability of failure-free operation in certain cases does not exceed 0.5 % at a standard value of 0.9 %.
Big losses have another dark side, Mr. Gasho explains. When the rate regulation system was being developed, it was assumed that heat losses up to 7 % should be included in the tariff, while other costs should be paid by energy supplying organizations. However, all costs are usually being included in the rate. According to the author, the total heat loss in 2016 in the Ulianovsk oblast amounted to 1,269 million GСal. Given the heat rate of not less than 1,000 rubles per GСal, even a rough estimate amounts to more than a billion rubles.
Summer tests of heating systems often show not even dozens, but hundreds of damages, which require more than a day to be fixed. Sometimes, due to a very large amount of work, repairs have to be rescheduled. Although in general, power supplying organizations are required to meet the maximum allowable time limits for hot water supply termination during routine network repairs.