On the eve of heating season
06/08/2004, Ruslan Iskanderov
The long awaited summer has invisible passed its middle point threshold. Those, who haven't managed to get vacation yet are hastily planning their holiday. And businessmen returning from their holidays are facing new everyday problems. And one of the most important ones is how to prepare their ventures and houses for the heating season.
It would seem like - what sort of problem is that? You just bring into order your heating equipment, check it, make all necessary preventive and technical preparations - and you are free to enjoy your life. But it's not all that simple. The bureaucratic apparatus of the authorities also has to live, and consequently - to prove the usefulness of its existence for the society. It's best to do it, inventing new rules and instructions, which businessmen have to follow.
For example, the autonomous heating equipment. A couple of years ago in Almaty, where the process of appearing and becoming of new private ventures was underway, certain problems appeared with the heating. The capacities of urban heating and communication services were not enough for all. In that situation the municipal authorities called businessmen to install autonomous heating systems, thus helping themselves and the city. And such equipment was installed on many ventures, in accordance with the project, certified and commissioned before 2000. Moreover, businessmen did it for their own expense, with full accord of the corresponding state structures. Thus, the problem was resolved.
However, as soon as some time passed, and municipal communal services "became mature", a sudden for businessmen decree by the city mayor was issued on limitation of the usage of autonomous heating installations and their transfer to central heating.
How come? The city administration ingeniously explained that autonomous boilers and furnaces were supposed to do harm to the environment. And if you still want to use your heating installations - you have to obtain an appropriate permit. It means months of reviews, discussions, again losses of time and - what's important - money.
The city environment department dealt with the disobedient. It started to warn and fine all those who continued to use their autonomous heating installations without an additional paper with a stamp.
A permit to use the heating installations is issued by the energy complex department of the city administration. But there are nuances to it.
Environmentalists in their turn demand written statements from monopolists, such as "Almatyteplokommunenergo" about an impossibility of connecting business subjects located on the territory of the city to the central heating system. But the term "impossibility" must be understood in its specific meaning. The point is that no monopolist would refuse to connect to the central heating system for somebody else's money, naturallyif he can gain some profit from it. And given that an entrepreneur must pay for these communications from his own pocket, of course - nothing is impossible for communal services! Just pay - and we will make a pipe up to Kok-Tube hill! Naturally, no monopolist would produce such a statement, on the contrary, using his monopoly rights he will impose his odious services on businessmen.
BY the way, during all these years, many entrepreneurs found out that the autonomous heating is comfortable, has good quality, and it is much more profitable, than switching to the central city system. But their opinion is not taken in consideration they are ordered to switch on - unless they want to be tormented by constant fines…
The reasons for all this lie on surface. A lot of money flow past the pockets of monopolists. And it worries them. There are normal, civilised, and just ways to resolve this conflict situation. Installing the heating the businessmen received legal documents and did it all at their own expense. If monopolists and the city administration want to increase the number of consumers, let them install communications at their own expense, switch on the heating. And then the businessmen are ready to become their consumers, what else they have to do?
But it doesn't happen! Bureaucrats try to resolve this problem as many others, at the expense of businessmen. It appears that when it was cold in the city, there were problems - they asked to establish heating at their own expense. The situation changed - and all agreements, all previous solutions became garbage. And the businessmen must pay again…
If we consider this problem from the juridical point of view, especially for those entrepreneurs, who legally purchased and established autonomous heating installations, corresponding with the world standards, the situation is simply outrageous. There is a firm juridical principle: the law does not have a reverse force. And I the authorities will wish to change this situation - they will have to seek compromise with entrepreneurs, mutually satisfying ways to resolve problems and not harshly dictate their conditions. In this case, municipal services together with monopolists, obviously commit power abuses, referring to a new decision by the city administration. If the authority wants to change the "rules of the game", then it must bear its own share of costs, necessary for it, reimburse to the businessmen their big losses. A good autonomous heating system for a medium size building, made abroad, costs from 3 to 10 -12 thousand US dollars. So what, now a businessman should write off these costs as his own?
But that is not all. As per the law, all normative legal acts of the local authorities on business issues should pass expertise and registration in the Ministry of Justice or in its territorial subdivisions.
It appears that the decision of the city administration on this issue has not been thus registered. Therefore the environment protection department of the city administration, trespasses the law itself imposing the fines on the businessmen. Here the unbiased Themis should be involved, personified by prosecutors! The subject of the discussion still lies on the surface and any unbiased court will acknowledge that imposing fines for actions that absolutely comply with the current law is nonsense. But the THemis servants keep their "humble" silence…
Photo from apcalmaty.kz website