Utilities will rise in price again. Indexation of housing and communal services tariffs in July 2024 is carried out after almost a year and a half break. Their maximum growth will be 9.8%, the Ministry of Economic Development reported. A year earlier, the government recalculated the cost of gas, electricity, water and heat supply on an unplanned basis from December 1, 2022, setting the indexation limit at 9%. Next summer, the average monthly payment amount for a family of three will increase by 500–550 rubles. But in certain regions of the country, tariffs will increase much more noticeably.
“Taking into account the influence of these factors on the costs of resource supply organizations in the areas of heat, water supply and sanitation, the share of costs for electricity and gas supply in the total payment for utilities, the indexation of citizens’ fees for utilities will be: in 2024 - 9.8%, in 2025 - 5.7%, in 2026 - 4.0%,” follows from the forecast of socio-economic development of the Russian Federation for 2024-2026. Let us remind you that utility tariffs have not increased this year.
Meanwhile, the annual indexation of housing and communal services tariffs has objective grounds. They are connected both with the forecast of socio-economic development, which is prepared by the Ministry of Economic Development, and with expected inflation. In a word, macroeconomic indicators influence tariffs in any industry: in passenger transportation, in public utilities, in the pricing of all goods and services. Therefore, the government, assessing all factors, gives the percentage increase in tariffs for housing and communal services.
“Is the growth of 9.8% justified? Is he justified? No, says Popular Front expert, member of the Public Council of the federal project “School of Literate Consumers” Pavel Sklyanchuk. “According to reports from market participants and indirect evidence associated with rising prices for fuel and petroleum products needed for boiler houses and power grid companies, 9.8% is a figure that does not fully cover the resulting losses and increasing operating costs of utility companies.”
According to the expert, the government had to choose between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, networks need to be modernized. Here, willy-nilly, the emphasis is shifting from tariffs for the population to direct support for utility companies through subsidies. In the near future, hundreds of billions of rubles will be allocated for these purposes. On the other hand, the population’s income is not growing and paying 10% more monthly for utilities is a serious blow to the wallets of Russians.
At the same time, the tariffs include a “matryoshka system,” the expert explains. First, the government sets “ceiling” values, and then the subjects, through agreement with the territorial bodies of the FAS and the central office of the antimonopoly service, establish deviations from the limit indices. Moreover, in 9 cases out of 10, this is a deviation in the greater direction. This is done in order to implement the tasks associated with large local projects to modernize housing and communal services. Plus, in each specific municipality there may be adjustments related to the work of individual enterprises in the industry,” continues Sklyachuk.
Daniil Petukhov, Candidate of Economic Sciences, teacher at the Synergy Business School, agrees that the increase is justified, since the costs of companies in the industry are growing.
“In the regions, the final figures may differ. The current situation in housing and communal services is far from ideal, to put it mildly. And raising tariffs alone will not solve the problem,” he emphasizes. — Naturally, there will be a hidden increase in certain utility items. Traditionally, heating, water and electricity will be the most costly for consumers.”
Moreover, taking into account the historical characteristics of domestic water supply systems, heating is the most expensive service. There is a question here both about heat loss and about the energy efficiency of the houses themselves, which release the heat entering the house. Also, many houses do not have individual heat meters in the apartment. Therefore, there is a serious imbalance in payments in the heating sector.
Another costly utility service is gas supply. “Since January of this year, we have been paying more for gas (on average by 9%). The next increase will be in July 2024 (by 9.8%), and then in the summer of 2025 (by 8%). In total, in two years, gas tariffs for the population will increase by tens of percent,” notes managing partner of the communications agency B&C Agency Ivan Samoilenko.
Let us remind you that indexation is planned for July 2024. It turns out that starting next August, people will receive receipts with indexed tariffs, which in some regions, judging by the words of MK’s interlocutors, will increase by more than 9.8%.