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Siberian tariffs in the Far Eastern Federal District

Transbaikalia has become a region of the Far East, but has not received electricity benefits

Consumers of the Trans-Baikal Territory after joining the Far Eastern Federal District did not feel a change in the cost of electricity tariffs. They remain extremely high.

Siberian tariffs in the Far Eastern Federal District

Business is breaking through a closed door

It is not the first year that Trans-Baikal entrepreneurs have been trying to somehow change the situation with high tariffs in the region. Non-existent accounts force many to refuse to work or move to another region, for example, the Irkutsk region, where the cost of electricity is several times lower. 

Recently, a meeting of business representatives and representatives of Chitaenergosbyt took place at the site of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Trans-Baikal Territory. The issue on the agenda is whether electricity tariffs will be reduced in the region. 

Experts said that now electricity prices in Transbaikalia are much higher than in other regions. However, for individuals and legal entities this is not a secret for a long time. Members of the chamber who are engaged in entrepreneurial activities were interested in such injustices. After all, buying electricity in a special order, such as in Buryatia, is much more profitable, and among the Trans-Baikal businessmen, there are large consumers.  

“The difference between Transbaikalia and Buryatia in terms of energy tariff lies in the purchase price. The government of Buryatia has achieved a decision to regulate the purchase price of electricity. I believe that Transbaikalia will not wait for a gas pipeline to be built here. The only available energy is electrical. Is it profitable for a Trans-Baikal entrepreneur to use electricity? Other options for solving the problem are a special program to support enterprises to compensate for this tariff. We are approached by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for whom the cost of electricity is of fundamental importance. We are trying to attract businessmen and investors to the region, which means that the authorities should be interested in raising electricity tariffs, ”said Lev Aleksandrov, a representative of the Transbaikalia Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The head of the department of the wholesale energy market Chitaenergosbyt, Pavel Popov, said that the entry of Transbaikalia into the Far Eastern Federal District did not affect the cost of electricity. According to him, geographically, the region remained in Siberia, and energetically refers to the second price zone. For this reason, the rules of this zone apply to Transbaikalia and that is why the region is compared with the Siberian regions.

“The wholesale electricity market in Russia works according to the rules approved by the decree of the government of the Russian Federation. This document defines the price zones of the wholesale energy market. There is a first price zone (the European part of Russia and the Urals), the second price zone includes the territories of Siberia, Transbaikalia and Buryatia as well. There is still a non-price zone of the wholesale market - the Far East and Kaliningrad. The allocation of the non-price zone is due to technological reasons, including weak electrical connections. Therefore, regulated tariffs still operate in the Far Eastern Federal District. So in the rules of the wholesale market, the division of price zones does not occur in federal districts, but in specific territories. Zabaykalsky Krai still belongs to the second price zone with unregulated tariffs. From the point of view of the electric power industry, joining the Far Eastern Federal District has not changed the situation, ”explained Pavel Popov.

The Far East is not included in the price zone of Siberia; there is no electricity market there. In terms of electricity consumption in the Trans-Baikal Territory, indicators are slightly higher than in Buryatia, and lower than in the Irkutsk region. It is possible that new mining projects will help to achieve a higher consumption, which will help reduce the cost of electricity.


Low voltage

According to the head of the Legislative Assembly of the Trans-Baikal Territory Igor Likhanov, the high cost of electricity for consumers and enterprises connected to low-voltage networks is one of the most serious problems in the economy of Transbaikalia. Because of this, entrepreneurs are sometimes forced to move to other regions, where conditions are more comfortable for them.

According to the PCT of the Territory, the average electricity tariffs for large consumers in the Trans-Baikal Territory last year amounted to 4,84 rubles per 1 kW / h (including VAT), which is 15,5% higher than in other subjects of the Far East. The situation is no better today. 

After leaving the energy market, regional authorities expect to reduce the tariff by one ruble per kWh. This will provide an impetus for a more accelerated development of industry and small business in the region. 

The government of the Trans-Baikal Territory and the regional tariff service continue to promote the relevant amendments to the draft federal law for consideration at State Duma meetings. 


Do not survive on your own

Back in March, at a meeting of the State Duma in the first reading, the draft law "On Amendments to the Federal Law On Electric Power Industry to Limit the List of Individual Parts of Price Zones of the Wholesale Market, Which Establishes the Specifics of the Wholesale and Retail Markets" The deputy from the Trans-Baikal Territory Vladimir Pozdnyakov noted during his speech that it is necessary to include Transbaikalia in the list of entities with regulated, that is, reduced prices for electricity.

“In the Trans-Baikal Territory, the cost of electricity for entrepreneurs and budget consumers is higher than in neighboring regions, by 6% in the Amur Region and by 71% in the Irkutsk Region. High tariffs in the region are due to the features of the energy system of the Trans-Baikal Territory. The region’s generation is based on coal-fired power plants, whose cost of generating electricity is increasing annually amid significant increases in raw material prices, ”the deputy explained.

Vladimir Pozdnyakov made several more arguments in favor of lowering the cost of tariffs for Transbaikalia. In particular, the region belongs to the non-gasified regions of Russia, consumers do not have an alternative, cheaper energy source in the form of natural gas; tariffs for thermal energy for entrepreneurs, manufacturing and budget sectors are also significantly higher: from 42% in the Amur Region to 172% in the Irkutsk Region; railway tariffs, due to their geographical location, make the market for central Russia and eastern ports economically inaccessible to manufacturers.

“The same situation with tariffs for water supply and sewage. You cannot survive on your own! ”, Vladimir Pozdnyakov emphasized.

He also said that the government of the Trans-Baikal Territory has prepared a plan for socio-economic development, for the implementation of which it is necessary to ensure competitive conditions, first of all, at the price and tariffs for electricity for producers. The head of Transbaikalia, Alexander Osipov, appealed to Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko and Chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin with a request to include the region in the list of regions with low energy tariffs. A similar appeal to Volodin was made by the regional Legislative Assembly. 

Meanwhile, Vladimir Pozdnyakov noted, the criteria by which the country's regions are already on the list of territories with low electricity tariffs are not clear.

“Today, these are nine entities: Buryatia, Karelia, Tuva and the regions of the North Caucasus - Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia-Alania, the Chechen Republic,” the deputy listed. - However, the criteria and parameters for inclusion in the list are not defined. They are unknown to the general public. During 2017-2018, Buryatia and Karelia were included in the list. Preferential electricity tariffs are set, but the tasks for the regions are not set. The lack of inclusion criteria, the analysis of the implementation of the tasks poses legal uncertainty and does not allow to include certain regions in the list or remove them from the list on the basis of rotation, ”said Vladimir Pozdnyakov.


President's word

Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting with the head of the Trans-Baikal Territory, Alexander Osipov, promised to help the region with the issue of lowering electricity and heat tariffs and fuel costs. 

“In Soviet times, these issues were not resolved in a timely manner, and now there are a number of restrictions that prevent gasoline and electrical energy from leading to normal costs. The President assured that he will support us in finding a solution. The government is now seeking such solutions. This question is not simple, therefore it is not easily, quickly resolved, ”said Alexander Osipov.

The possibility of including the Trans-Baikal Territory in the list of regions with preferential tariffs for electricity was discussed by deputies of the State Duma. According to the speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Transbaikalia has every chance to get on the list. Assistant to the President of Russia Andrei Belousov sent a proposal to Vladimir Putin to include the region in the list of regions with reduced electricity tariffs. However, the largest electric energy companies and energy consumers in Russia are opposed to the provision of privileges on energy prices for the Trans-Baikal Territory.

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