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October 4, 2019

Alexander Novak: “Our Common Goal is to Fully Comply with the Instructions of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to Ensure a Reliable Energy Supply to Consumers During Autumn and Winter”

On 4 October the All-Russian meeting on the ‘Preparation of the Electric Power Industry for Autumn and Winter 2019/2020’ was held at the REW 2019 Forum. It was attended by the heads of ministries and departments, State Duma deputies, executives and chief engineers of large energy companies, representatives of regional authorities and municipal headquarters focused on improving reliability. The Ministry of Construction, Industry, Housing and Utilities of the Russian Federation was a co-organizer of the meeting.

During the meeting, an assessment was made of the readiness of the domestic power grid for the heating period. Opening the event, Alexander Novak, the Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation said that this year for the first time the Ministry of Energy coordinated the preparatory work carried out in the federal districts together with the Ministry of Construction and Housing and Utilities of the Russian Federation. “This synchronization is very important because the technical process for preparing the electricity and thermal power facilities are the same as for the housing and communal services, and the heads of Russian constituent entities are typically responsible for the preparation of both energy facilities and housing and communal services,” said Alexander Novak.

The Minister of Energy said that the final results of the preparatory work will be announced on 15 November, and that the progress of this work is being constantly monitored by both the ministry and the country's leadership. A week ago, Alexander Novak, together with Vladimir Yakushev, Minister of Construction, Housing and Utilities of the Russian Federation gave a report on the preparations for autumn and winter to the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Following the meeting, the head of state gave several specific instructions aimed at ensuring the reliable supply of energy and thermal power to consumers. “Our common goal is to ensure these instructions are implemented. The Ministry of Energy is focused on 46 generating facilities with a capacity of more than 25 megawatts and about 400 large electric grid facilities. We need to take all necessary measures to ensure their smooth functioning,” said Alexander Novak.

The minister also stressed that during the preparation for winter, special attention should be paid to the regions affected by the floods – the constituent entities of the Far Eastern Federal District, Irkutsk Region and the Jewish Autonomous District, which are under special control of the ministry.

Wrapping up his speech, Alexander Novak thanked all those present for the work performed during the year. “Your work has borne fruit. We are continuing to reduce the number of technical disruptions. With the commissioning of new generation facilities, Crimea is now energy self-sufficient, as is the Kaliningrad Region, whose power system can now operate both in grid-connected and isolated mode. The number of regions at risk is steadily decreasing. We need to keep up the pace of this work, and I’m sure we can do it,” said the Minister of Energy.

The Russian Minister of Construction and Housing Vladimir Yakushev spoke in detail about preparations for autumn and winter in the above-mentioned regions. In addition, he focused on the implementation of the instructions of the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation on the implementation of the ‘60+ Programme’, involving the implementation of a series of special measures in the constituent entities of the Federation, where the level of dilapidation of housing and communal facilities exceeds 60%. “The programme has already been developed, a great deal of work has been carried out on the technical side of things, and in the near future we plan to submit it to the Government for consideration and approval. It will focus on bringing thermal power, water supply and water disposal schemes into compliance,” said Vladimir Yakushev.

In addition, the Minister of Construction and Housing focused on the problem of non-payment for utilities. “The total debt of housing and utility companies related to fuel and energy resources currently stands at RUB 176.5 billion. Consumer debt related to housing and utility resources and services stands at RUB 1.3 trillion. With such a large gap, the housing and communal complex will clearly not be able to fully develop,” said Vladimir Yakushev.

Alexey Aleshin, Chairman, Federal Environmental, Industrial and Nuclear Supervision Service of Russia also talked about the reduction in the number of technical disruptions, which in part is due to the consistent monitoring work:

“In line with the instructions of the Government of the Russian Federation, for several years now we have been monitoring the level of preparation of energy facilities and housing and utility companies for autumn and winter. This approach has proven to be effective, with the number of emergencies and incidents during the heating period falling every year. The decrease in the number of accidents at energy facilities investigated by Rostekhnadzor commissions also attests to this – from 2016 to 2019 there was a more than 200% drop from 68 to 23 accidents.”

“The Rostekhnadzor agencies are monitoring the level of preparation for the heating period by both power generation and grid companies and housing and utility companies, and as a result we are able to identify violations of any mandatory requirements that could lead to emergency situations in the winter even before readiness certificates have been issued,” said Alexey Aleshin.

Pavel Zavalny, Chairman of the Committee on Energy, The State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation; President, Russian Gas Society spoke about the legislative resolutions adopted by the parliament that ensure the country's energy security, reliability and quality of the power supply to consumers.

“To increase the level of reliability and security of the country's energy supply, regulatory decisions need to be adopted both in terms of modernizing generation and improving the efficiency of the power grid, and it is vital that we take these decisions today. A law was adopted on intelligent electricity metering systems, which, in essence, launched a large-scale digitalization programme for the entire electric grid. We expect this programme to have a significant positive impact by reducing costs and increasing investment and the operational efficiency of the power grid. The savings will help us to achieve our targets to modernize and digitize the power grid while not increasing tariffs. These decisions should also lead to an improvement in payment discipline,” said Pavel Zavalny. 

Pavel Livinsky, Director General of Rosseti, reported to the Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation Alexander Novak and the Russian Minister of Construction and Housing Vladimir Yakushev that the electric grid is 100% ready for the upcoming heating season and peak demand. The head of the electric grid holding noted that funding for the maintenance and repair programme in 2019 increased by RUB 2.6 billion from the previous year, the number of transformers repaired increased by 4%, and overhead lines by 3%. “I am confident that as a result of the work done in preparation for the upcoming autumn and winter, we will see a continuation of the positive operational indicators achieved this year during peak demand,” said Pavel Livinsky.

Also during the meeting, the heads of other large energy companies and specialized federal departments reported on the preparations for autumn and winter. Representatives of the regions exposed to abnormal weather this year spoke first.