Russian daily Kommersant writes about the steadily rising utility bills in Russia. Annual price adjustments are scheduled for July and consequently don’t reveal the effect on heating bills until the winter. The good news, however, seems to be that the rises will no longer outpace inflation, at least according to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak.
Cost of utilities should rise by an average 7.5% in Moscow, the highest increase in Russia. Water bills will increase by 7%, heating by 8.1% and electricity between 7-15%. Last year was tougher – the bills increased by 10% and a new tax to finance capital repairs was introduced (it was disputed at the Constitutional Court that found no reason to strike it down). Many Russians fail to understand why the cost of utilities shifts only upwards while some inputs are becoming cheaper, but the reason is in consistent disregard for maintenance of the infrastructure that lasted for too long and now requires catching up.
Rising utility costs are motivating the customers to control their usage of electricity and water – households with installed water meters as a rule pay less than average. Others are making local small technological breakthroughs: a programmer in Kaliningrad installed solar cells on the roof of his building, making it a net seller of electricity.