Thursday, December 14, 2017

Yekaterinburg utility debtors to be relocated to smaller residences

Yekaterinburg deputy head of housing and communal services Alex Kozhemyako appeared on TV 41 Home's "Open Studio" Monday night to discuss the city's plan to alleviate debts owed to municipal utility companies by residents.

During his television appearance, Kozhemyako disclosed that total debts owed to utility companies this year exceed $80 million. The high level of debt is of particular concern to Kozhemyako and other members of the city government as it has adversely impacted the city's fiscal preparedness for the upcoming winter season by destabilizing the public water, heat and electricity companies, according to Ekburg.ru.

Kozhemyako further explained that utility companies typically recover resident debts in courts, with thousands of claims filed against non-payers each year. In extreme cases, utility companies will discontinue services to delinquent households. This year, however, the city duma has created a third option for non-payers: relocation to smaller residential units with more manageable utility costs, Ekburg.ru reports.

"Most citizens pay disciplined [utility fees]," Kozhemyako said, according to Ekburg.ru. "Collection ratio was 98.4 percent. Nevertheless, the large sums in this area formed a substantial amount of debt. Currently, the state strengthens the responsibility of debtors, including the possibility of eviction to smaller residential buildings."

Throughout Kozhemyako's appearance on "Open Studio", viewers were encouraged to vote on how they feel the administration should handle households that default on their utility payments. One percent of voters indicated that delinquent utility payments should be met with fines, while 39 percent agreed with the new relocation proposal. Sixty percent of viewers believed non-payers should be disconnected from the utility, Ekburg.ru reports.