Energy service contracts entering will become easier

21 january 2015

The Analytical Center held an expert discussion on amendments to legislation aimed at energy services development in the housing sector.

During the roundtable “Development of state regulation in the sphere of energy services rendering in housing facilities” experts discussed amendments to the Housing Code of the Russian Federation and a number of federal laws, especially 261-FL "On Energy Saving and Energy Efficiency" and 185 FL "On the Support Fund for the Reform of the Housing and Utilities Sector". Amendments are provided by the Russian Government action plan on the update of state regulation in the energy services field approved last year.

The historical background and conclusions made by the Analytical Center were recalled by the Deputy Head of the Directorate for the Housing and Communal Services of the Analytical Center Natalia Pavlova. Energy service contracts’ use in apartment buildings faces a number of barriers caused by the imperfection of the regulatory framework - lack of legal succession in energy service contracts (change of a property owner does not imply a new owner's compliance with contract) and a statutory quorum meeting of property owners needed for contracting (by various legislation acts, it is possible if the number of votes accounts for 50 - 100%). In addition to that, a contract signing by every single owner is impossible, if there are hundreds of apartments privatized by all family members of their owners. Conditions while paying for utility services for the provision of benefits and subsidies for savings due to the implementation of energy service activities are required to be added in the legal and regulatory framework. Other barrier - lack of energy services in the utilities payment structure.

Majority of amendments did not cause doubts and complaints from experts. The main discussion was on the introduction of energy services in the Unified payment document - whether they should be mentioned separately (experts’ majority is for this option) or they should be a part of another service. The energy service structure is neither housing one nor municipal. The most logical action is to bring this service to the caption "capital repairs and apartment building maintenance", according to the Managing Director of the Homeowners and Housing Association Evgenia Yunisova.

It is time to review contractual relations in the housing sector aside the equality of all its members for resource providers’ disadvantage in delivering low grade services and take actions leading to their cost increase, considers Ms. Yunisova. "Resource providers should not be the untouchables”, said the expert. The Head of Directorate for Housing and Communal Services of the Analytical Center Maria Shilina was the moderator of the roundtable. This proposal in the current environment is innovative and arriving at it should be gradual and with the solution of acute problems.