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Apr 30, 2021
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The rich will pay more

The rich will pay more

Electricity costs will be allocated according to social level.

The Russian authorities decided to relieve businesses from the burden of electricity debts. Now the costs of paying for electricity will be compensated for by citizens. Moreover, there is an idea to apply the principle of social justice: take more from the wealthy, and less from the poor. Is this fair?

DEBTS GROW

Rosstat has published fresh data on the income of Russians: today, almost 17.8 million people have incomes below the subsistence level. Officials, however, were glad – this figure is 300 thousand people lower compared to 2019. And we have 13.5 million poor citizens (also less than in 2019, by more than 5 million). Maybe these figures somehow reassured our authorities, who decided that the number of rich people in our country is becoming more and more? At least, how else to explain the idea of ​​shifting debt coverage for electricity to the wealthy segments of the population?

According to the Center for Financial Settlements, in 2020 Russians’ debts for electricity increased by another 12 billion rubles. Moreover, this is the highest growth in the last 8 years. In the pandemic, many lost their jobs, incomes fell. People simply did not have the money to pay for light. In total, Russians owe more than 66 billion rubles for electricity. At the end of winter, the deputy head of the Russian Ministry of Energy, Anatoly Yanovsky, already announced that electricity tariffs in a number of regions would increase. And now, apparently, the tariffs will also include debts?

Now these risks are extinguished by business and enterprises. The tariffs for businesses in terms of the cost of electricity were constantly growing. And the amount of subsidies has already reached 239 billion rubles a year. Citizens are underpaid or not paid at all. Debts are piling up. As a result, the working group on the problem of the electric power industry of the State Council of Russia recommended that the government consider the issue of the possibility of switching to economically justified tariffs for electricity for the population.

WHAT IS THE BANQUET FOR?

The solution is this: tariffs for the population will be adjusted. At the same time, they will increase the payment for electricity for wealthy citizens. And due to this, they will pay off the debts of the poor.

However, this approach is somewhat surprising. The question arises: who will decide which of us has a thicker wallet and thicker soup? How to legally determine the security of a family? And in general, don’t you think that this “reform” contains a deeply flawed principle: instead of somehow reaching an agreement with the debtors – to convince, stimulate, create favorable conditions, punish, finally – we just want to take money away from those who can still pay.

“If we say that Russia is a welfare state, then is it really possible to compensate for our losses at the expense of citizens,” says economist Sergei Platonov. – I think people should not suffer. Electricity – not expensive foreign cars or villas by the sea. This is one of the basic social benefits for every citizen today. It seems wrong to make payments for electricity dependent on income. If the state allows low wages for Russians, then the state budget should take upon itself to cover the debts of the population to pay for electricity or solve the issue of incomes and the level of wages in the country. “

The Energy Consumers Community believes that resolving the issue of debts at the expense of high-income citizens really does not paint our executive power. At the same time, they say that today this is the only possible solution.

Business also supports this approach, and this is understandable: the problem of paying off debts must be somehow solved, it cannot stretch indefinitely. Representatives of the business sector believe that benefits for paying for electricity should be provided on a point basis, this issue should be resolved individually.

The Russian Ministry of Construction emphasizes that, first of all, it is necessary to expand support for low-income citizens. Today, subsidies for electricity are received by families who spend more than 22% of their total monthly income on utility bills. Representatives of the Ministry of Construction of the Russian Federation believe that it is possible to expand the benefits and allocate them to those citizens who pay for housing and communal services more than 15% of their income. But all other citizens, apparently, will fall into the category of well-to-do people and will pay much more for Ilyich’s light bulb.

Marina Lepina.

Photo: ADOBE STOCK

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