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The Far East will pay for heat according to the new model

"Alternative boiler house" radically changes the structure of the market - the growth of tariffs may exceed inflation

The “alternative boiler house” model is being introduced in the Far East. We are talking about a new tariff setting system, when settlements enter into an agreement with a single heat supply organization and enter the heat supply price zone. In this zone, tariffs can rise above the inflation rate based on the formula “consumer price index plus interest”. According to the Ministry of Energy, the money will go to the restoration of the housing and communal system, which has come into crisis over the past 60 years. Despite the fact that in the west of Russia the reform has been implemented since 2018 and has already brought a positive effect, it has found many both supporters and antagonists. The arguments "for" and "against" were considered by the EastRussia editorial board.

The Far East will pay for heat according to the new model

In the price zone

Earlier, RusHydro reported that pilot settlements in the Far Eastern Federal District have been identified, where a new method for calculating heat tariffs will operate. These are Blagoveshchensk, the village of Progress and the village of Chigiri in the Amur Region. Corresponding work is underway in Birobidzhan, next in line is Yakutsk. The feasibility of using the "alternative boiler room" module in Vladivostok is being considered. At the VI Eastern Economic Forum, the governments of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Primorsky Krai and PJSC RusHydro signed agreements on cooperation to modernize heat supply systems in the regions.

The reform of tariff formation is regulated by the law dated July 29.07.2017, 279 No. XNUMX-FZ "On Amendments to the Federal Law" On Heat Supply "and certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation on improving the system of relations in the field of heat supply".

As explained in the Ministry of Energy, the crisis state of the housing and communal system in Russia requires urgent measures. More than 60 years ago, the USSR built a developed infrastructure for district heating in cities. Over the past 30 years, the Soviet legacy has become obsolete - indicators of reliability, quality and energy efficiency of heat supply have significantly decreased.

The new model fundamentally changes the structure of the market. The central figure on it is the unified heat supply organization (ETO), which operates in the unified price zone, where the “limit level of the price of heat energy” is set. ETO performs the function of a single window for consumers, ensures the loading of the most efficient capacities, is responsible to the authorities for the operation of the entire system and assumes investment obligations. The new tariff includes capital costs for the modernization of heat sources, that is, the construction of "alternative boiler houses" is paid by consumers. According to the Ministry of Energy, the marginal price increase for consumers of thermal energy in the Far East fits into the formula “no higher than the consumer price index + 2%”. Experts call a growth range of 2-6% per annum above inflation. The tariff is formed for 5-10 years or more.

“The price of heat energy is calculated for a specific city (or rather, a heat supply zone) based on the cost of building an alternative source of heat supply. For example, if in the city N they decided to build their own boiler house for several blocks. Then, to calculate the maximum price level, they take: the cost of construction + the cost of buying and supplying fuel + the cost of delivering heat to the consumer + salaries to employees + other costs necessary for the operation of the boiler house. All this is divided by the number of gigacalories that this boiler house could produce, and the cost of 1 Gcal is obtained. This price can be found using special calculator on the website of the Ministry of Energy ", - says PJSC" T Plus "- one of the first ETO in Russia.

Limit tariff

The maximum price level for heat energy is established by law by the regional tariff regulation authority. However, this does not mean that the consumer will necessarily pay the maximum. It is possible to make the tariff less than the maximum price. More - not possible.

In addition, as explained in "T-plus", the law presupposes a reduction factor that reduces the marginal level of the price of heat energy. This coefficient is set by agreement between the UTO and the authorities of the municipality and is prescribed in the agreement between them in cases where the maximum level of heat prices calculated within the framework of the new heat market model is higher than the current tariff.

The size of the reduction factor is fixed in the agreement. And ETO cannot sell more than the price calculated taking into account this coefficient.

Until the moment when the price reaches the maximum level, the tariff will grow in accordance with the schedule approved by the regional governor (this may be inflation plus a few percent). After the price reaches the maximum level, it will change annually only by the inflation rate - no more. 

If the approved maximum level of the "altbotel" is higher than the current level of tariffs, the price of heat will be frozen and will remain at this level for several years.

The experiment on the implementation of the new model began in 2018 from the city of Rubtsovsk in the Altai Territory. The regional government and the Siberian Generating Company (SGK) signed an agreement on social and economic cooperation. Finally, the new method of tariff regulation was secured by the order of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

On the example of Rubtsovsk, one can clearly see what awaits the regions wishing to join the reform (according to the law, participation in the project is voluntary). SGK took the place of the structural unit Rubtsovskie Heating Networks of the Barnaul Heating Company, which had previously managed the heating sector. SGK creates JSC "Rubtsovskiy Heat and Power Complex" - RubTEK. A new management team is being formed headed by Maxim Novov.

The investor undertakes to invest up to 1,7 billion in the municipal heating complex and increases the amount of financing for the repair program at the generation facilities and heating networks of Rubtsovsk by 1,5 times. The last heating seasons in the city, which was considered the most problematic in terms of communal infrastructure, passed without any complaints, the company notes.

In 2018-2020, Barnaul, Krasnoyarsk, Kansk joined the reform, which concluded agreements with SGK, Linevo (Siberian Heat and Power Company (SibTEK LLC), Prokopyevsk (Teploenergoremont LLC), as well as Orenburg, Samara, Vladimir, Ulyanovsk, Novokuibyshevsk, Mednogorsk (PJSC "T Plus") The Ministry of Energy expects that in the next 5-15 years the total volume of investments in the heat economy of these settlements will amount to about 92 billion rubles.

Pioneers of reform in the Far East

As for the Far East, as noted in the Ministry of Energy, the largest producer of heat energy in the region is PJSC RusHydro. It will take over the functions of ETO.

“The heat supply systems in the Far East are characterized by such problems as high wear and tear of heating networks, an annual increase in damage to heating networks, lack of investment sources, and the lack of the ability to connect new consumers. At present, the possibility of using the “Alternative boiler house” model in the pilot regions of the Far Eastern Federal District is being studied, ”the press service of the department reports.

The ranks of the pilots included the city of Neryungri and the village of Chulman in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). It is expected that the new tariffs will attract 3,77 billion rubles of investments to these settlements.

The city of Blagoveshchensk and the village of Progress in the Amur Region can attract up to 4,60 billion rubles. Birobidzhan will also join the reform, where the volume of investment is still being calculated.

Of course, Far Easterners are interested in how the tariffs will change with the introduction of the new model. This is evidenced by the experience of the regions-pioneers of the reform.

For example, this is how prices for heat energy change in the price zone of Barnaul (data of JSC "Barnaul Generation")


January 2019

July 2019

January 2020

July 2020

January 2021

July 2021

October 2021

January 2022

July 2022

January 2023

the maximum allowed price of 1 Gcal in rubles









real price of 1 Gcal in rubles











In July 2021, the tariff was even lowered, but then it was revised upward. Igor Luzanov, director of the Altai branch of SGK, explained that “the authorities promptly made changes to the rules for calculating the cost of heat energy for price zones,” since the previous method turned out to be ineffective and did not recoup the costs of suppliers. Total as of October 1, 2021, the tariff in Barnaul was 2105,44 rubles / Gcal. According to Luzanov, it has grown by 2020% since July 5,7.

In Rubtsovsk, on January 1, 2021, the real cost of a gigacalorie was 2187,40 rubles, and on October 1, 2021 - 2266,42 rubles. This is lower than the price limit set as of October 1 at 2 rubles / Gcal.

Save the heat economy

And here it must be said that the state of the heat economy in many settlements of the Far Eastern Federal District is indeed in a critical state. The deterioration of the thermal infrastructure exceeds the average Russian indicators by 15-20%; many thermal stations were built in the 30-50s.

“According to our information, in Vladivostok, the depreciation of heating plants reaches 90% in certain districts. The problem is especially acute in the Pervomaisky district, ”said Oleg Titov, head of the MUPV VPES.

According to experts, the problem has reached such proportions that it cannot be solved at the expense of the public sector and private companies in the context of standard tariff setting. For example, altkotelnaya has a lot in common with concessions, but concessions work fragmentarily with individual elements of the thermal complex - banks are reluctant to lend to this area, and investors usually choose other, more promising niches.

“Concessions are not a bad mechanism, but the main instrument of the concessionaire is cash. If they are expensive, it can be difficult. Taking into account the interest rates offered by banks, the company will receive a billion in credit, and give more than two billion, and the extra burden will fall on the consumer. But the consumer shouldn't overpay twice. I consider 3% in the tariff to be an acceptable amount, "says Vladimir Malyushitsky, head of Primteploenergo KGUP. At the same time, he adds that in Primorye there are also positive examples when investor's costs are minimized due to technologies - for example, in Fokino, the transition from fuel oil to gas allowed to reduce the costs of the concessionaire LLC Intellectual Utilities Fokino.

Today, the concession and the altboiler mechanism complement each other. Companies can choose tariff setting according to the new model, which implies that the tariff is set for a long time, and all heat producers will supply consumers at a single price. Accordingly, ETO organizations for banks are more desirable clients and can count on better lending conditions than ordinary concessionaires.

Heatstroke - the arguments against

At the same time, the reform found many opponents among the authorities, market participants and the scientific community. The antagonists saw monopolization and elimination of competition in the new model, with far-reaching negative consequences. For example, Valery Stennikov, a member of the Joint Scientific Council of the SB RAS, believes that “the unreasonable increase in tariffs and the monopoly structure for heat supply management that is being created do not stimulate entrepreneurial initiative and competition for the consumer, which would help reduce costs and increase production efficiency.”

“The introduction of the monopoly structure of the UTO in this form eliminates the state authorities and local authorities from the management of heat supply, a very important and socially tense sphere that largely determines the energy security of Russia. The main social function of the state is completely shifted to private companies, ”the expert said.

According to him, a private company with the ETO status, in principle, cannot be public, open and transparent. At the same time, she will dictate her terms of service on the territory entrusted to her. “In fact, ETO is endowed with unlimited rights without any obligations: it determines the prices of producers; sets maximum prices, ”notes Valery Stennikov.

Among the possible consequences, he names the withdrawal of consumers from the district heating systems with an increase in the load on the remaining subscribers and even the transfer of production capacities by enterprises abroad due to high energy tariffs.

“Redistribution of costs towards thermal energy will temporarily improve the situation of CHP in the electric market, but in fact will not change it. The mismatch between these markets will increase, reducing the efficiency of the participation of CHPPs in the production of electricity and displacing them from this market, turning them into boiler houses. The UTO monopoly will not allow independent heat energy producers to develop and will lead to the curtailment of their activities, ”the expert lists.

In Buryatia, the Republican Tariff Service (RST) and individual deputies opposed the reform. “A significant part of cities and settlements in Russia, including the Trans-Baikal Territory, do not plan to switch to the heat supply price zone and to regulation by the method of an alternative boiler house. According to the calculations presented, the tariff for heat energy for 2022 will amount to 2475 rubles / Gcal including VAT, which is 18,5% higher than the current tariff in Ulan-Ude, ”the RST reported. The war subsided after the visit of Plenipotentiary Envoy Yuri Trutnev, who, as part of a working trip, supported the transition of Ulan-Ude to the heat supply price zone.

Inevitably voluntarily

Meanwhile, RusHydro's plans are already known, taking into account the “alternative boiler house” in the Far East. Among them is to increase the capacity of the Neryungrinskaya SDPP by building new 450 MW power units. It is also planned to build the second stage of the Yakutskaya GRES-2 with a capacity of 160 MW / 200 Gcal / h.

“More than 5 billion rubles will be invested in the modernization of three power units of the Neryungrinskaya SDPP within four years,” the press service of RusHydro reports.

Until 2035, RusHydro plans to invest 14 billion rubles in the repair of worn-out heating networks and boiler houses in the Far East.

According to the Ministry of Energy, in the territories where the “alternative boiler house” model has been operating since 2018-202, there is already an effect from additional attracted investments. In 2020, SGK's total investment in various modernization projects amounted to 12 billion rubles.

“For 10 years, it is planned to invest in the heat supply system of Krasnoyarsk, which will switch to the alkotelny method from 2021, - about 15 billion rubles,” reports SGK.

As for the pioneer of the municipal reform Rubtsovsk, “over several years SGK has been able to modernize the entire heating system of the city, which until recently was on the verge of a communal disaster,” the company comments.

Note that already 26 municipalities in 15 regions of the country have switched to the “alternative boiler house” model. According to the Ministry of Energy, it is planned that 2024 regions will enter the heat supply price zone by 35, and 2035 by 65. Due to the inflow of investments, the number of accidents at heat sources and heating networks should be reduced to 5%. The share of combined cycle CHP generation will grow by 33% by 2024.

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