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Weak mediation

Fraud in the sphere of housing and communal services and the lack of a proper response from law enforcement agencies force the power engineers to talk about the need to charge the energy directly from the population, bypassing the Criminal Code

The economy of the Far East, like Russia as a whole, suffers from a growing debt shaft for electricity. The problem of multibillion-dollar non-payments has been particularly affected by the housing and utilities sector: management companies serving apartment buildings, in most cases, explain their debts to companies supplying heat and electricity with non-payment by negligent tenants. But energy is inclined to see the root of trouble, rather, in ineffective management and, moreover, the use of fraudulent schemes by the leaders themselves.

Weak mediation

According to the federal supplier of heat and electricity, PJSC RusHydro, the total amount of debt for these services from Far Eastern consumers has increased by 2017% since the beginning of 10 and amounted to 1 July 31,4 billion rubles (15,6 billion - by electric and 15,8 billion rubles - for heat). By the way, this is about 10% of the total Russian debt in the energy sector, although the entire population of the Far East is only 4% of the Russian Federation.

Among the main defaulters are members of the so-called “non-industrial consumers” category — the population and the housing and utilities enterprises that service it (UK). The latter owed for electricity nearly 5 billion rubles (29%) and 3,4 billion (22%) for heat. In the opinion of power engineers, it is legal entities, called upon to deliver energy resources to the population, and form, in many ways, a growing picture of non-payments in the sphere of energy and utilities. As in the scale of the whole of Russia, and the Far East.

- It is very common practice when management companies collect money from residents for electricity, but this money does not reach the guaranteeing supplier, or they reach, but not in full. Just unscrupulous CC and housing and communal services (often specially created for profit and operating for not more than a year, then go bankrupt and again enter the market of housing and communal services, but under other names) withdraw funds received from third parties, "complains the correspondent. Director of OP Energosbyt of PJSC Sakhalinenergo Igor Bondarev.

According to him, “the leaders and founders of the Remstroyservis-1 company acted according to this scheme in the Sakhalin city of Dolinsk. After its bankruptcy, they created the Sakhalin Utilities Operating Company, and then SakhBytService-1. As a result, the energy company, according to Sakhalinenergo, incurred losses in the amount of over 15 million rubles. 

For more than three years, Sakhalinenergo has been trying to attract managers and founders of these companies (by the way, being the same persons) to criminal liability. However, local law enforcement agencies do not see the crime here, confining themselves to formal letters and disciplinary sanctions against their careless employees in the field.

"Statements by Sakhalinenergo in essence have not been considered, actual circumstances for spending money received from the population and from the budget have not been established," Igor Bondarev added.

Such impunity, according to the interlocutor, led to a repetition of a similar situation with the embezzlement of funds of the population in Dolinsk. The management company, Urban Management LLC, collected money from the population for electricity, but insisted with Sakhalinenergo at the power company, it paid only in part. Evidence of this, energy experts believe, is the fact that when Sakhalinenergo was involved in the sale, the level of collection of payments for electricity for this housing stock was almost 100%. However, at the Criminal Code for some reason, it was about 30%. To date, it is declared bankrupt. Debt - more than 17 million rubles - hung in the air. The power engineers have repeatedly asked the management of the Directorate of Internal Affairs to take personal control of the consideration by the regional police department of criminal complaints against former leaders and founders of the UGH of Dolinsk, but no progress has been made in resolving this issue.

With such phenomena for several years trying to fight at the federal level with the help of existing and new laws, but, not yet very successful. So, in November 2016 the Federal Law №348213-6 "On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in Connection with Strengthening the Payment Discipline of Energy Consumers" came into force. The law provides for such measures as: an increase in default interest on late payments, an obligation has been introduced for candidates in the Criminal Code to provide security for the performance of their payment obligations in the form of an irrevocable bank guarantee.

Despite this, by the middle of this year, Alexander Panina, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the industry association “Council of Energy Producers”, stated that the debt to generating companies nationwide exceeded 333,6 billion rubles, including for the supplied heat energy - 246,7 billion rubles and for electricity - to 87 billion rubles. The debts of housing organizations (CC, HOA, HBC) in the total volume of receivables for thermal energy amounted to 51,3% or 126,5 billion rubles.

According to Panina, it is possible to neutralize the harm from dishonest intermediaries between the population and resource providers, in particular, through the conclusion of direct contracts between resource providers and citizens (now this possibility is provided for in by-laws and FZ-176, but not accepted by courts and supervisory bodies); by limiting the issuance of CC, HOA, HBCs of the passport of readiness for the autumn-winter period in the presence of receivables.

In the Ministry of Energy to the question of corr. ER - what measures of compulsory collection of debts in relation to housing and communal services organizations, in particular in the Far East, answered that "joint orders of the Ministry of Energy of Russia and the Federal Bailiff Service (FSPP) in May of 2014 formed a working group on the enforcement of court decisions on recovery debt for consumed electric energy, in the framework of which the community discusses problem situations for debt collection. The results of the discussions are summarized and forwarded to the FSSP of Russia for further development and adoption of appropriate response measures. "

In the General Prosecutor's Office, the situation with energy payments in the Far East was also commented on with official language, but with specific examples and figures. So, in the main supervisory agency, the countries noticed that in 2016, in the Sakhalin Oblast, prosecutors' offices made 97 submissions, following the results who were brought to disciplinary responsibility 67 officials. One criminal case was brought against the bailiff, who was protecting the debtors. And in the Amur Region and Primorsky Krai, thanks to the measures of the prosecutor's reaction, it was possible to reduce debts to energy suppliers by 468 thousand and 200 thousand rubles, respectively.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs avoided direct answers to questions about the situation with the investigation of cases on Sakhalin with Dolina housing and communal services enterprises and the Criminal Code, possible difficulties in solving crimes related to fraud. However, it was reported that a significant blow to the problem of energy debts was inflicted on the scientific front: “The Voronezh Institute of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia is conducting a research and development work on the organization and tactics of the departments of economic security and combating corruption of internal affairs agencies in combating theft budget funds and funds of the population committed in the field of housing and communal services ". 

Crimes in the field of housing and communal services are very difficult to investigate. Practice shows that they often occur when using an administrative resource or with the direct participation of government officials. For example, as it was in the case of the director of Vorkuta Thermal Networks (it became possible to initiate the case only after the top leadership had completely changed in the Komi Republic - Governor Vyacheslav Gayzer and another 18 regional officials were arrested).

Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies have real successes in the fight against economic crimes in the housing and public utilities sector in the Far East. A criminal case was opened against the director of two CCs of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky ("My Home" and "My Home - PC") Dmitry Poyupkin, accused of embezzling 46,5 million rubles. The debt of the companies he leads to PJSC "Kamchatskenergo" is estimated at 250 million rubles. 

- An example in Kamchatka shows that it is realistic to fight such crimes, - sums up Igor Bondarev. Now, desperate to get the truth on the spot, we turned to the Prosecutor General's Office for help. We hope that the supreme supervisory authority will pay attention to the situation on Sakhalin and will help local colleagues. 

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