Officials representing utility companies like to talk at length about how all the problems in the utility sector stem from low rates, claiming that people pay so little that the money utilities get is not enough for anything. Experts contend, however, that in actuality Russians overpay for utilities.
Russians overpay for heat no less than 100-150%
The Analytical Center expert Evgeny Gasho commented on this situation in an interview to the Argumenty i Fakty newspaper. “As far as heat is concerned, our people pay 2 to 2.5 times more than they should,” the expert believes. “Unlike water or electricity for which most homes have meters so they can see how much of those resources they really consume, nobody knows how much heat gets consumed. People just get a bill for central heating and pay it and then officials from utilities spin yarns about how we consume 3-4 times more heat than in Sweden or Finland and how we pay for it far less than in those countries.”
The reality could not be more different. We have analyzed hundreds of apartment blocks in various Russian cities for a period of 10 years. Only a third of them consume as much energy as they are supposed to. The rest of the buildings either do not have meters at all or the meters are broken down and 24-25% more heat gets consumed. The reasons for that vary. In some places utility companies supply more heat than is needed to make some extra money while in other places the central heating is out of sync with clogged up pipes. If the pipes were cleaned or the radiators were replaced, energy consumption would fall by an average of 25-30%. After implementing measures like this, in your average 50 m2 two-room apartment in Moscow your heating bill would amount to 850-900 rubles a month rather than thousands of rubles as is the case today. Unfortunately, neither utility companies nor local governments care about the energy efficiency of their central heating systems.”