Medvedev demands punishment for stealing gas in North Caucasus

Medvedev demands punishment for stealing gas in North Caucasus
Dmitry Medvedev

In 2017, debts for gas in the North Caucasus Federal District grew by 13 billion rubles ($ 208.827 million ); debts for electricity amounted to more than 3.5 billion rubles ($ 56.222 million).

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev demanded to intensify the fight against energy losses in the North Caucasus. During the meeting of the governmental commission for the socio-economic development of the North Caucasus Federal District (NCFD), the prime minister said that a significant part of the gas and electricity lost in the region or written off as losses during transportation through worn-out pipelines and power lines is in reality simply stolen.

“Everything that was actually stolen as a result of unauthorized connections and tie-ins, as well as with the use of various schemes for evading payment, including the deliberate bankruptcy of housing and public utilities and energy sales companies, is written off as losses during transportation,” Medvedev said 

He drew particular attention to the problem of dilapidated networks, the official owners of which “are hard to identify,” as well as to the “absolutely inaccurate customer bases.”

“This is all beneficial primarily to criminals, that is, to those who earn on this. They hamper the solution of these problems, fuel corruption in this sphere,” the prime minister said (quoted by Interfax).

The head of government urged “to change the situation” using coordinated efforts of the leadership of the regions of the NCFD and energy companies, as well as law enforcement agencies.

“It will take both personnel decisions and, of course, the punishment of those responsible,” Medvedev said.

The Prime Minister recalled that last year the North Caucasus regions paid for less than 85% of the consumed gas, which resulted in a total debt increase of 13 billion rubles for gas, and 3.5 billion rubles for electricity.

According to Gazprom, as of January 1, the overdue debts of the regions of the NCFD (taking into account the assignment of claims on debts between Gazprom mezhregiongaz Pyatigorsk and new subsidiaries of Gazprom, which made profit in North Ossetia, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Adygeya and Karachay- Cherkessia) amounted to 26.9 billion rubles ($ 432.111 million), and without the mentioned claims - 85 billion rubles ($1365.41 million). In the first quarter of this year, the volume of overdue debt increased from 26.9 billion to 35.6 billion rubles ($ 571.865 million).

In mid-May, Gazprom said that in order to reduce gas losses in the NCFD, the company fights illegal connections to its networks, falsifying counter readings and using uncertificated gas equipment.    

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