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Freezing cold. Why some Kyiv apartments have no heating?

Author : Ksenia Tsivirko

Heating problems were top news last week. In a number of cities, people were forced to rally in the streets in order to force officials to solve the problem. And this is not only the problem of the small towns
22:31, 20 November 2018

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Almost a month after the start of the heating season, the first snow has already appeared on the streets, but the radiators in hundreds of Kyiv apartments are still cold. “You do not even have to take the street jacket off,” users of social networks say ironically. Kyivteploenergo company (engages in the production, transmission, and sale of heat and hot water in Ukraine - 112 International), which supplies heat to two-thirds of Kyiv houses, explains that the heating systems were not ready for the load: after the start of the heating season, about 900 emergency damages had to be repaired, and the pipeline itself was almost 80% worn out.

Naftogaz began to supply gas to Kyivteploenergo only on October 12; therefore, until that time it was not possible to carry out a trial start of heating and repairs on time. The pipes were empty for a long time, and the corrosion started to damage them. The repair campaign began quite on the eve of the heating season, leaving many houses without heating," explains Serhiy Dyachenko, the situation housing and communal services expert.

Kyivteploenergo reports that as of November 13, 61 sections of the heating network were blocked due to emergency work, as a result of which 95 consumers, including hospitals and schools, had to be turned off from the heating. But despite reports on the work done, in some houses, there is still cold. Because of the "inexplicable reasons" of cold in the apartments, the people of Kyiv began to protest on the streets.

At Zoolohichna street, a couple of dozens of local residents blocked the pedestrian crossing and stopped the car traffic. “We resorted to such an action because we had no heat for a month. We repeatedly addressed all government and hotlines. We heard different versions: a damage of the pipes on Vozduhoflotsky Avenue, in other places. We all went there to see – but there were no damages, "one of the protesters described the situation. However, not all Kyivans have the time and desire to go to rallies so they quietly endure the cold in the apartment, hoping that the situation will somehow be resolved.

"In our house, on Heroiv Stalingrada St. everyone is cut off from heating. I left applications on the website of the housing and communal services. There is no feedback from the utility  services at all, none of the neighbors know when the heating will be provided and what the problem is,” complains Olena Teplyakova, a resident of the Obolon district.

"They gave us heating only on November 9, but the radiators are completely cold. You can't directly contact the housing office now. There is a general dispatching office in the district, they say that the plumber came and did something, but we never saw him," says Oksana Volkodav, the resident of the 16-storey building on Vernadskogo street.

There were such cases when there was no heating in the apartment, but neither the housing office, nor Kyivteploenergo did not respond to residents' complaints and charged money in bills for "phantom" services. Kyivans are indignant. “Before the neighboring house the yard was dug up for two weeks already, but I have never seen emergency crews. In my house, on Muromska 17/20, since the beginning of the heating season, the radiators have never been warm. At the same time, according to the testimony of Kyivteploenergo, heat is delivered to our house and everything is fine. And when I contact the dispatcher service of our district, they answer me that there are damages in the heating network at the site. I left there my application that the heating service was not provided, they registered it. But despite this, I received a bill for a more than 500 hryvnias. In the "Center of Municipal Service" I was refused to do recalculation, because the people’s applications are not sufficient for this reason. The same situation was last year. Then I also received bills for nothing, but the recalculation was refused, because the office provides only information and advisory services, and the applications registered there are not delivered to the service provider, that is, Kyivteploenergo, ”complains Olga Bilozovska from Kyiv.

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In order to refute the unfairly accrued bills, consumers will have to run around various instances during their working hours. According to the established procedure, first we need to make a statement of quality of utility services in duplicate by inviting a representative of Kyivteploenergo. If he did not come, the document must be signed by at least two neighbors, registered in a special journal, which is also located at the service provider, and wait for the claim report to be considered. If no response is received within 3 days, it is considered that the supplier company acknowledges the facts stated in it. This is followed by another "test" - to make an application for recalculation in the local "Center of public services". In addition to the passport, documents for the apartment and the claim report (which is not always recognized), you need to have copies of the paid contested bills.

Who is to blame and what to do?

In Kyiv, there are three companies that are engaged in the production and supply of heat and hot water – the Kievteploenergo communal service, the private company LLC Kievteploenergo and LLC Euro-Reconstruction. They stand at the top of the chain to provide the population with these public services. However, it should be noted that these parties are responsible for the availability of heating and hot water.

The area of responsibility of Kyivteploenergo is production and supply of services to the house, that is, control of the temperature of the heat carrier; maintenance of heat points in proper condition; repair of heating systems; reading and verification of heat meters; billing for centralized heating and hot water. The area of responsibility of the balance holder (housing department, housing cooperative, etc.) concerns "domestic" problems: preparing the house for the heating season; ensuring the safety of the house heat meter; removal of air from the pipes; elimination of damages of intrahouse networks; ensuring the correct operation of heat points on the balance. The consumer himself also has obligations, in addition to the timely payment: to maintain their own radiators and apartment networks in good condition; prevent loss of heat through cracks in windows, doors, etc.

“When a situation arises that there is no heating in the apartment, it is necessary to contact both the management company that manages the residential house and the utility company. Dispatcher service of the district refuses to work in extreme situations, therefore, the reason for the lack of heating is the lack of perseverance of those who complain”, said Oleksandr Sergienko, Director of the City Institute Analytical Research Center.

According to him, the current problems of tenants related to housing and communal services are very poorly regulated by current legislation.

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"You must call a commission from the housing department, call two neighbors, draw up an act of claiming the absence or low-quality supply of public services, and with this act go further - to the heating company. There is no clear mechanism that would describe the recalculation procedure and determine those responsible. The easiest way is to solve it means installing meters for each radiator. These meters determine how many gigacalories your apartment used separately. However, the meaning of these will be noticed only when they are installed in the whole house, and these indicators are transmitted to the house-based computer. But this is expensive and requires the consent of all residents and, secondly, this is also hampered by legislative uncertainty: the Parliament adopted a law, according to which the installation of meters and equipment should be at the expense of residents, and the Cabinet of Ministers has not yet issued a ruling that describes this procedure ", explains Olexander Sergienko.

According to Kyivteploenergo, almost 20% of residential buildings in the capital are not even provided with a house heat meter. Having been hostages of the law and unable to install a heat meter, consumers are forced to overpay, according to experts, almost 70% of the normal tariff. It should be noted that there are two tariffs just for such situations: in the presence of a meter, you pay UAH 1354.78 (48 USD) per Gcal, including VAT; in homes without a meter - 31.52 UAH (1.12 USD) per square meter per month.

'In our house there is no meter, we receive huge bills for heating. Last year there were about 3,000 hryvnias for a three-room apartment. It’s good when there is heating in general. We should pay in full, although the radiators in one room are completely cold. My child is sick, she wraps herself in several bathrobes,' complains Oksana Volkoldav.

Read original article at 112.ua

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