The government approved tariffs for housing and communal services for 2022. The amounts in bills will grow by 2.9-6.5% depending on the region. Yes, indexation will be less than inflation: by the end of 2021, it is expected in the range of 7.4-7.9%. Nevertheless, in most regions, the size of the rent will grow more significantly than in previous years. But that’s not all. There are additional factors that will drive tariffs up. To aggravate the financial situation of residents of a number of regions, there is a threat of a monthly fee for garbage disposal, which will be separately allocated in the store. And the wallets of all residents, without exception, can be hit by electricity prices due to the possible introduction of standards for energy tariffs.
According to the government decree, in the first half of 2022, utility bills will not be indexed. In the second half of the year, the increase will range from 2.9 to 6.5% depending on the region.
The increase in tariffs is a common practice in Russian conditions: the cost of services from resource supplying organizations is becoming more expensive, the networks need repair and replacement of equipment, in addition, over the past year, the price of fuels and lubricants and fuel has grown in the world and domestic markets. Therefore, the rise in prices for communal apartments next year will be so noticeable. The only consolation: not higher than the inflation rate. Not higher yet.
Earlier, the government approved a plan for the transition to reference tariffs for housing and communal services. FAS proposes to establish a “standard” for at least five years. Thus, local authorities and resource workers will be prohibited from raising tariffs for the population above the established limit.
The Association “Territorial Grid Organizations” opposed the reference tariffs. In their letter to Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, the resource specialists asked to postpone the introduction of standards until the development of uniform principles for calculating payments for territorial grid organizations. Otherwise, according to them, a number of companies will “collapse” and tariffs for consumers will rise. In turn, the FAS assures that the maintenance of the reference principle for the formation of tariffs will not lead to an increase in electricity prices for citizens.
At the moment, the main problem in the reference tariffs is the lack of objectivity of calculations, says Ivan Samoilenko, managing partner of the B&C communication agency. “For such a huge country as Russia, the reference principle of tariff formation may be relevant only in the distant future. While each region is guided by its own needs and requirements, it is possible to form the optimal tariffs for this or that city, which has the least impact on the family budget of citizens, ”he said.
The approval of benchmark tariffs is not the only factor that can lead to an increase in the cost of housing and communal services. Another problem is the implementation of the garbage reform.
The fact is that in all regions of Russia, except for Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sevastopol, the so-called “garbage reform” was adopted from January 1, 2019. Garbage collection fees are included in a separate line and are included in housing services, which were not subject to the rule of growth not exceeding the inflation rate. In each region, a regional operator for the removal and sorting of waste is selected, and the tariffs are determined by each region independently.
From January 1, 2022, the three above-mentioned regions will just join this method. What will change for them, said a specialist in the field of housing and communal services, director of the People’s Control Organization Natalya Chernysheva.
“The amount that will appear in bills will be calculated from the area of housing. This, in fact, is illogical, – the expert notes. – It would be fairer to calculate the tariff per person, not per square meter, and take into account the frequency of garbage collection, the number of containers required, and also build more waste processing plants. Otherwise, a new line with inflated figures will simply appear in payment systems, which, moreover, can grow above the inflation rate ”.
As for the load on the wallets of citizens with an increase in tariffs up to 6.5%, this is a really serious blow in the face of a decrease in real incomes of the population and the ongoing pandemic, said Alexei Krichevsky, an expert on the real estate market of the Academy of Finance and Investment Management. According to him, if we add to this the future lockdowns for the unvaccinated, then the picture of income for a significant part of the country’s population will turn out to be completely unenviable.
“The ideal option would be to freeze the growth of tariffs (which should have been done last year) for a period of 2-3 years, and the state could easily subsidize the costs of resource workers from the growing budget revenues from the oil and gas industry. But taking into account the reality in which we are, we will have to prepare for an increase in tariffs throughout the country throughout the year, ”he summed up.