Arkhangelsk: Center reformats regions

Vladimir Putin's recent visit to the Arkhangelsk region showed that the federal center is looking for closer business contacts with the regions, especially in the north of the country. Apparently, working with regions will take a different form - this impression arose after the president's visit. It was easy to see the main purpose of Putin's visit to the Arkhangelsk region - Russia's concerns to ensure normal activities in the Arctic.

The Arkhangelsk region became the first northern region, the problems of which were discussed at the top level. In addition to the already operating diamond mine,  there is the Plesetsk cosmodrome, the gateway to the Arctic, large-scale shipbuilding industry, powerful timber industry complex, defense companies and highly developed fishing industry in the region.

During the meeting, which President Vladimir Putin conducted in the Government of the Arkhangelsk region, there was a number of important statements made in the field of the energy sector. One of the key tasks to increase the investment attractiveness of the region is the region's ability to enter the national electricity market, Governor Igor Orlov said. This will make it possible to cut electricity tariffs, which is 1.5-2 times higher in the region than in the Vologda and Murmansk regions.

"The region's move to come out from the so-called "non-price zone" becomes a crucial factor for the development of production in the region, for investors", Igor Orlov told Vladimir Putin. "As soon as energy prices decline, production costs are supposed to fall, - senior researcher at the Institute of Social Analysis and Forecasting of the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation, Alexander Burdyak told Pravda.Ru. - And of course, this is a plus for Russian production."

Igor Orlov raised the question of the debt of Arkhenergosbyt company, which currently serves as the provider of electricity in the region. The company buys electric power from suppliers and collects money from consumers.

During the meeting, Vladimir Putin instructed to consider the question about a possible change of the provider of electricity.

"I think that's the only way out of this impasse - when debts accumulate, and a situation can not be resolved. From year to year, it becomes worse. Debts can become a burden for consumers, which can not be allowed. We limited the growth of tariffs on housing and household services with the growth of the inflation rate. Therefore, any additional burden, any discharge of the system at the expense of consumers is unacceptable in the near future. It is a new policy in the sphere of housing and communal services that aims to remove old problems, to provide assistance in building public utilities networks and power plants, - said Alexander Burdyak. - We know that a part of the tariffs, which the population pays, should be used to maintain utilities in good condition, but as this has not been happening for many years, networks have worn out. Today, consumers are unable to cover the costs for building new public utilities and new power plants. The new policy of utility tariffs is to make the industry as transparent as possible and create conditions for comfortable living. And if a provider allows some sort of interruptions, they are obliged to note that the provided services were of poor quality. The prices for such services should be reduced. At the same time, consumers will be able to monitor the quality of services by making complaints to the provider, if services were provided inadequately. Again, this is the only way for the industry to become more efficient, to remove unscrupulous providers from it."

"The government should interfere in these matters. Moreover, I think, one needs to raise this question not only in Arkhangelsk, but in the whole country, because the cost of electricity is too high in almost all regions, Oleg Mikheev, deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Energy, told Pravda.Ru. - With high cost of electricity in mind, one can not talk about competition. Today, the government simply must pay attention to the cost of electricity, and, we can hope that they put things in order as quickly as possible in this field."

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Author`s name Editorial Team