Moscow, 28 August. Throughout RAO "UES of Russia", consumers paid more than 100% of the amounts billed for electricity and heat supplied to them. Efficient work of the regional energos' sales divisions resulted in consumer indebtedness decreasing by over RUB1.1 billion since the beginning of 2003.
The best results in collection of energy payments, including partial recovery of the arrears, have been achieved by OAO "Novgorodenergo" (108%), OAO "Dalenergo" (106%), and OAO "Mosenergo" (106%).
Despite the active efforts by the energy companies of RAO "UES of Russia" to collect payments and recover the arrears of previous years, the total amount of the energy companies' receivables remains significant, standing at over RUB74.7 billion.
The situation with energy payments by consumers is most critical in Sakhalin Region, where only 40% of the current energy payments have been collected, and in Kurgan Region (44%). The spokesman for RAO "UES of Russia" said that the most problematic consumer groups in these regions, as well as throughout the energy holding, are the wholesale resellers (WRS) of electricity and housing and public utilities run by the local authorities. Despite the fact that the total amount of debt owed by this category of consumers to RAO "UES of Russia" had decreased almost RUB1 billion by August 2003, their indebtedness is still high, RUB23.15 billion and RUB32.74 billion, respectively. This makes 31% and 44% of the overall consumer debt owed to RAO "UES of Russia" entities. Industrial consumers account for RUB17.2 billion of the total indebtedness, whereas agricultural consumers owe RUB7.7 billion and households RUB4.5 billion.
The main reason for the energy payment problems faced by WRS and housing and public utilities is the failure by local authorities, which are in charge of these consumers, to pay the energy bills and arrears. The irresponsible and inactive position of the local authorities in Khabarovsk Kray, the Republic of Karelia, Kamchatskaya Region, Tver Region, Ulyanovsk Region, Smolensk Region, Saratov Region, Kirov Region, Kurgan Region, Astrakhan Region, and Amurskaya Region may hamper the preparations for the autumn-winter period in these regions' energy systems. Due to the high level of consumer debt and lack of funds at RAO UES entities needed to purchase fuel and complete the repairs, the start of the heating season may be delayed in the Republic of Komi and Arkhangelsk Region.
The mass media relations department of RAO "UES of Russia" stated that entities of RAO UES of Russia" are guided in their energy sales activities by the laws in force and the principled position of the Russian Government: unpaid supply of electricity and heat is impermissible.