Public utility bills in Latvia may double in the next heating season, said LLC Rīgas Namu pārvaldnieks (RNP) chairman Ronalds Neimanis in an interview to TV3 programme 900 seconds.
In the last heating season bills had climbed by approximately 60%. Customers’ discipline, on the other hand, had improved since debts had increased by only 30%. At the end of the heating season, the general debt was EUR 3.9 million in April. It has since dropped to EUR 1.2 million. Neimanis predicts the debt level may be about EUR 1 million before the start of the next heating season.
To avoid a situation when heating is not provided to an entire house because of one debtor, RNP has turned to a number of institutions, and the Ministry of Economics is not working on amendments to regulations to allow debts for heating to reach about 20%. This, according to RNP, would help resolve the connection issue. If amendments are not passed, 70 houses in Riga risk being left without heating this season.
Neimanis admitted that people gladly use the opportunity to pay bills at a later date, paying for winter in spring. However, the moratorium on penalties is over now that the state of emergency is lifted. This means late fees will be applied again.
He stressed that
RNP would be in favour of letting residents pay later without late fees since this approach did make people’s lives easier during the pandemic.
Current forecasts for the next heating season suggest the costs will increase considerably. It is also possible heating in a one-room apartment may cost upwards of EUR 150. RNP has no plans to increase maintenance fees. Nevertheless, from January onward the fee may increase by at least 10-20%.
Neimanis explained that the heating accounts for the biggest portion of public utility bills. He allowed bills may double in size for residents this winter season.
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Riga City Council Welfare Department representative will present planned social aid activities at this press-conference.