Investments in energy efficiency for residential blocks, modernization of the heating system and individual contracting of thermal energy are some of the solutions for vulnerable consumers in Chisinau, proposed by the associations of tenants and energy experts. The discussions were held in the round table "Current challenges of vulnerable energy consumers in Chisinau, on the agenda of homeowners associations. Capabilities and investment solutions”, organized on July 10 by IDIS “Viitorul ”.
The event aimed to bring into question the role of homeowners associations in providing solutions for consumers in Chisinau and the challenges of the relationship between tenants and utility providers.
"In the case of Chisinau municipality there is no problem of a citizen who has debts and cannot pay his energy bill. There is, in fact, a problem for everyone and we must work together to find a solution. Solving consumer problems helps us and the whole society ”, stressed the moderator of the discussion, Veaceslav Ioniță.
The residential sector is the largest energy consumer, accounting for about 45% of the final energy consumption in Moldova, with multi-storey housing blocks totaling almost 160 million m.p. or 60% of the housing stock. At the same time, the residential housing fund accounts for 98% of the total debt to the heat supplier. “1900 residents of the four housing blocks that manage them do not have hot water and pay a lot for electricity consumption. The most beats in the pocket the payment for the consumption of the thermal agent: now we pay 1,022 lei for a gigacalorie, 5 times more than in 2008. A solution would be the distribution of the thermal energy horizontally, but nevertheless, the modernization of the heating system without the involvement of the state it will last forever”, says Magda Ivasiuc, president of the HOA 169 from Chisinau.
"I have not had hot water for 20 years and I wash from heat, and my health is destroyed because of this. And the monthly pension of 866 lei cannot cover the enormous costs for the energy bills”, says Valentina, a tenant from the Botany district of the capital.
In turn, energy expert Victor Parlicov argues that current policies promote energy inefficiency, and the solutions would be different. “The problem with energy efficiency in blocks is fundamental. The municipality offers 40% compensation for people who consume energy that could be saved. We actually subsidize the loss of energy. From a policy point of view, this is a waste. Subsidizing should be done on energy efficiency and not on energy consumption, thus causing energy wastage. And solutions and investments for energy efficiency are and can be financed. However, the problem in this chapter exists at the system level and can only be solved at the system level”.
"According to last year's amendments to the law on energy efficiency, the scheme of financial obligations will be introduced in tariffs. This means that energy service providers will collect additional money from consumers and transfer them to the Energy Efficiency Agency for the implementation of energy efficiency programs, which will put pressure on tariffs. However, this scheme was not reflected in ANRE methodologies and on the one hand a new cost component is introduced, and on the other hand, we offer tax subsidies for energy consumption for certain big consumers ”, added Victor Parlicov.
At the same time, the energy expert, Sergiu Ungureanu proposes the direct contracting: “The consumer does not know what the consumption for thermal energy is, because he does not have a meter and cannot verify. Therefore, switching to the individual system of contracting, counting, charging and adjusting is the most suitable solution for consumers. Technical solutions exist and they must be discussed with the housing associations, with the suppliers, with those who manage the engineering networks and with the municipality”.
Energy poverty is a complex problem, and the single tariff stimulates excessive electricity consumption for household consumers, according to Nicolae Mogoreanu, president of the Energy Consumers Association. He asserts that the single tariff causes the phenomenon of subsidization, which contravenes the European Energy Charter and suggests solutions for vulnerable consumers: "The economic balance of electricity and thermal tariffs is necessary, because the whole republic pays for the comfort of the inhabitants of Chisinau and Balti. And for vulnerable consumers, I propose the following solution: for those who consume less than 30 KWh of energy per month, the tariff should be reduced twice”, recommends Nicolae Mogoreanu.
According to Eurostat, the share of electricity costs in household incomes in the Republic of Moldova is 3.4%, much higher than in other countries, and this situation is similar to the natural gas (7%) and heating sector (11.4% %).
According to the projects submitted to the public consultations, Gas Natural Fenosa Electric Power Supply requests from 19 August to apply a tariff of 194.40 bani / kWh, compared to 180.25 bani / kWh as requested in March. Thus, if ANRE approves the increases, domestic consumers could pay, as of August, 1 leu and 94 bani for one kWh, instead of 1 leu and 79 bani, as they are currently paying, which means 15 more bani.
The event was held within the initiative "Support for poor energy consumers", implemented by the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) "Viitorul", with the financial support of the World Jewish Relief Foundation. It aims to strengthen owner associations to become a powerful voice for vulnerable energy consumers in policymaking.
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