Kharkiv Heating Networks have already connected over 90% of houses to heating, director of the municipal company Vasyl Skopenko said.
“Since October 6, we have connected the entire social sphere. Since October 14, we have begun to connect residential buildings. As of today [October 21], we have already supplied heat to 91% of houses. It is clear that there are problems with air removal and defects, but I think that 3-4 days – and we will fully provide everyone with heat,” he said during a press conference at the Interfax-Ukraine agency.
Skopenko specified that the company provided an advance payment for natural gas for October and will be able to pay for November gas. At the same time, he predicted that due to low payments from the population, the company will not be able to accumulate the necessary funds to pay for gas in December-January, its accounts will be seized and the money will be automatically debited.
“I think everyone will have such a situation. Whatever memorandums we sign, given the gas price that exists, with a cash gap and the population’s ability to pay, it will be like this,” he said.
According to him, the difference in tariffs between the cost of heat supply and bills for the upcoming heating season for Kharkiv will be about UAH 2.4 billion, since tariffs for the population were not revised, and the price of gas increased.
The head of the company also said that in preparation for the heating season, the enterprise this year has replaced more than 100 km of heating networks, installed about 300 individual heating points with weather regulation in residential buildings, overhauled 24 boilers with a capacity of 30 to 100 Gcal.
In addition, within the framework of the program with the World Bank, 11 frequency-controlled pumps were put into operation.
“By the way, it is very economically profitable. In winter mode, one such pump gives energy savings in the range of UAH 1 million,” Skopenko said.
Also, within the framework of the program with the World Bank, six new small boiler houses were installed instead of the demolished 60-70-year old ones.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has held a meeting at which he set the task for heating tariffs to be reduced in Ukrainians’ utility bills in December, since gas prices for the population had previously been reduced. “Gas prices have decreased, but tariffs have not. Why so? We are looking for ways to reduce the price and make Ukrainians receive lower heating bills in December,” he said on his Facebook page, where a video was also posted about the meeting attended by Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, Energy Minister Oleksiy Orzhel, Head of the Presidential Office Andriy Bohdan and his deputy Yulia Kovaliv.
At the meeting, it was said that after lowering gas prices, Ukrainians should receive lower tariffs, but legislatively, it is impossible today to change heating tariffs until May 2020.
“We’ve coped with the gas price. In order for the heat tariff to go down this winter, we have a very short bill, which can be introduced by the president as urgent, and the adoption of this law will lead to the fact that our tariff for the population will decrease. This winter we have already protected consumers from tariff growth, because it has traditionally grown. It will not grow anymore,” Honcharuk said.
Kovaliv, in turn, noted that the National Commission for Energy, Housing and Utilities Services Regulation (NCER) is authorized to change the tariffs and this issue should also be discussed with the regulator.