"The Analytical Center has analyzed the way utility meters are operated in Moscow and the Moscow Region and found that Mytishchi has become the pilot town for the integrated modernization of the system," said the Analytical Center expert Evgeny Gasho at a meeting with residents of the town. "Now bills for heating are issued based on meter data that change depending on the temperature of the air around the buildings and thus different amounts are charged in different periods. It used to be that people were billed the same amount every month but now they are billed different amount each time and if you take the total for the 7 months that the central heating is on and calculate the average monthly payment it works out to be less than it used to be."
Evgeny Gasho joined a commission set up to independently assess the situation with the central heating system and inspect the work of individual heating centers and the principles that the billing for heating is based on. Experts say the billing system is defined by a large number of various regulatory documents and resolutions: there are about five regulations for how to bill apartments for heating and two regulations for how to bill them for hot water. On the other hand, heating utilities have their own rules for keeping track of the energy they supply and they must also abide by the laws on heat supply and energy efficiency. There is very little chance that a typical town resident can figure out all this sea of regulations and directives. One way to deal with this situation would be to bring in a third independent party to develop a billing system that would transcend all this red tape. Some kind of a heating bill calculator should be produced that people could enter their data in and make sure they get billed the correct amount.
In addition, Mr. Gasho noted that Mytishchi residents now can access all the information they need in open sources if they want to double-check their bills. They can also get data from their own meters and track the daily updated data on how much heat they’ve been supplied on the website of the town’s heating grid.