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Sep 14, 2022
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Secrets of the Irkutsk energy boiler

The regional state institution “Oblkommunenergo” tries to do everything for the consumer, and everyone puts spokes in his wheels. It is to this conclusion that articles appearing regularly on the Internet have been leading for more than a year. Moreover, “Oblkommunenergo” is trying to convince the public and officials that the company does not receive the necessary money, asks for more funds to be included in the tariff and directly indicates that its interests are being infringed.

Mr. Anfinogenov will probably be surprised, but Russia has been in capitalism for 31 years. And yes, there should be no other money in the energy sector than what consumers will pay. Otherwise, it will no longer be a modern civilized country, but North Korea.

At the same time, OKE’s revenue over the past six years has grown from 2.3 billion rubles a year to 4.3 billion – almost doubled. Then what is Mr. Anfinogenov complaining about? Let’s figure it out.

Where’s the money?

Let’s start with the theory and tell you how the relationship between territorial grid organizations (TGOs) develops.

The subjects of the electricity market are subjects of natural monopoly, their activities are 100% regulated by the state, through the establishment of prices (tariffs). That is, there is no private arbitrariness and cannot be.

All activities of all TSOs are transparent to the regulatory body – the Tariff Service of the Irkutsk Region. It is she who evaluates the financial and economic activity of the enterprise based on the results of the reporting period of regulation, on the basis of which it sets prices (tariffs) for services for the transmission of electrical energy in relation to each TSO (individual tariff for services for the transmission of electrical energy) for the next period of regulation.

There are two such organizations in the Irkutsk region. These are JSC IESK and JSC BESK. They receive the cost of electricity transmission services from guaranteeing suppliers (energy supply organizations). Further, these organizations, having received payment from guaranteeing suppliers (energy supply organizations), pay other TSOs for the services actually rendered by them, which are calculated in accordance with the norms of the current legislation of the Russian Federation, by multiplying the volume of electricity transmission from TSOs to end consumers of electricity and in the network of other TSOs by an individual tariff for services for the transmission of electrical energy.

And it cannot be otherwise. Such a scheme is regulated by the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 442 of 05/04/2012 and the Government Decree No. 861 of 12/27/2004. Complaints of Mr. Anfinogenov about the “arbitrariness of power engineers”, in my opinion, also have no sufficient grounds: all financial and economic activities of organizations are controlled and verified by the regulatory body – the Tariff Service of the Irkutsk Region. For example, JSC “IESK” does not have the ability to dispose of the funds of other grid organizations (included in the so-called common pool), including OGUEP “Oblkommunenergo”.

Let’s see why the head of OKE complains that the assigned tariffs and the necessary gross proceeds are unreasonable and underestimated, and the company categorically did not have enough funds for the investment and repair program.

There is a question whether OKE really wants to carry out an investment and repair program. After all, this is an extra cost and a decrease in profitability.

The fact is that the growth in the required gross revenue for the maintenance of electrical networks (money required by TSOs for the implementation of regulated activities) of all territorial grids of the Irkutsk Region (i.e. the entire “boiler”) from 2015 to 2022 amounted to 37%. At the same time, the growth in the required gross revenue of Oblkommunenergo for the same period amounted to 67%, that is, almost twice as much. What prevents the OKE from directing these funds for repairs and investments?

The management of OKE complains about the losses in the networks due to the deterioration of the networks. Indeed, there is a significant increase in the cost of compensating for losses in the electric networks of OGUEP “Oblkommunenergo”, which is primarily associated with an increase in the long-term loss standard from 16.28% (2015-2019) to 19.70% (2020-2024). Who prevents OKE from fighting losses in networks by upgrading equipment? Nobody. But why should OGUEP “Oblkommunenergo” deal with losses in networks if they are included in the tariff in full and carry guaranteed funds to the enterprise?

As a result, it turns out that the consumers of the Irkutsk region are forced to compensate for each lost kilowatt-hour from their own pocket. Are there many enterprises in the Irkutsk region that can afford to lose almost 20% of their products? Does this suit the Government of the Irkutsk region, and when we will be given an answer, do Oblkommunenergo have goals to reduce losses and what are they? In the meantime, the situation looks like that the money of the residents seems to go into the void.

Turns out there is money.

Not so long ago, Oblkommunenergo won a lawsuit against the Tariff Service of the Irkutsk Region and now talks about this victory everywhere. The victory, however, is very peculiar.

The fact is that from the decision of the Regional Court in this case it follows that, objecting to the position on the underfunding of OGUEP “Oblkommunenergo” through the established tariffs for electricity transmission services, the Tariff Service of the Irkutsk Region pointed to the non-use of OGUEP “Oblkommunenergo” of previously allocated funds funds included in the tariffs. And “Oblkommunenergo” considered it necessary to lay down funds for it + 1 billion rubles when setting tariffs.

Thus, OGUEP “Oblkommunenergo” insisted on a multiple increase in tariffs, which would increase the burden on end consumers in the Irkutsk region. In fairness, it should be noted that the Tariff Service of the Irkutsk Region perfectly understood the situation and executed the court decision in strict accordance with the current legislation of the Russian Federation, and added funds for repairs in an economically justified amount equal to 9.4 million rubles.

In accordance with the data of the annual financial statements for 2020, OGUEP “Oblkommunenergo” (information is publicly available) during 2020 placed deposits in the amount of 2,247,100 thousand rubles, that is, half of the annual revenue (section 3.1 of the Explanations to the balance sheet for 2020 ). Thus, in the Statement of Cash Flows, these transactions are listed as “Cash flows from investment operations”, including:

– proceeds from the repayment of loans granted, from the sale of debt securities (rights to claim funds from other persons) – in the amount of 2,000,800 thousand rubles;

— payments in connection with the acquisition of debt securities (rights to claim funds from other persons), provision of loans to other persons – in the amount of (2,247,100) thousand rubles;

— as of December 31, 2020, balance sheet line 1240 “Financial investments” is 370,165 thousand. rubles, incl. deposits in the amount of RUB 369,300 thousand.

According to the annual financial statements for 2021 (also available in the public domain), these amounts have multiplied (up to 6.9 billion rubles, that is, more than annual revenue), and financial investments as of December 31, 2021 were already in the amount of 530,865 thousand rubles , incl. deposits in the amount of 530,000 thousand rubles.

We translate from accounting into Russian. Oblkommunenergo has been placing money on deposits for two years in order to receive passive income, and it turns out that the investment and repair program is not being fully implemented. And they also demanded in the courts an additional billion rubles, again, for the implementation of these programs.

Miracles on investment turns

The management of OKE constantly complains about the lack of funds for the repair and renewal of electrical networks. It is logical that if the money is on deposits, then they cannot be spent on other purposes. It should be noted that the OKE also exists at the expense of the regional budget (according to the Ministry of Housing Policy and Energy of the Irkutsk Region, considerable funds are allocated annually from the emergency fund, etc.).

At the same time, the company has not been fulfilling the investment program in full for many years already (according to the data for 2019, the program was executed only by 9%, and in 2020 – by 11%).

This position of the OKE leadership has already attracted the attention of the prosecutor’s office. In the fall of 2021, the prosecutor’s office issued a warning to the management of Oblkommunenergo due to the fact that the company did not always repair and reconstruct networks in a timely manner or unreasonably postpone them to a later date. Separate sections of networks controlled by OKE, according to the department, have already reached 75% wear and tear.

At the end of 2021, the OKE reported that the company managed to complete the investment program by 70%. You might think that these funds were fully directed to the modernization of long-suffering networks, due to the wear and tear of which entire villages can be left without electricity in winter. No matter how. Of the 497 million investment funds for the purchase of automotive and special equipment, the company allocated 68 million.

Recall that the real state of affairs in the OKE is rather complicated. The legal successor of OKE – “Oblkommunenergo-sales” – is already in a state of bankruptcy. At the same time, the OKE leadership does not seem to be taking any serious measures to get out of the crisis. According to the report of the Government of the Irkutsk region on the activities of “Oblkommunenergo”, the regional budget bears more and more costs to finance the activities of the enterprise. The current OKE policy has also been evaluated at the federal level. Thus, the Government Commission for Ensuring the Safety of Electricity Supply identified numerous significant violations and shortcomings in the organization of work and operation of electric power facilities.

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