| Yesterday the YABLOKO party disclosed to journalists the
results of its action "Let's Put Monopolists on the Meter" which
aimed to indicate toYABLOKO activists whether the utilities’ tariffs
were fair. On YABLOKO's initiative tests with specially fixed meters were
conducted in houses and flats in Ulyanovsk, Chelyabinsk, Tula, Samara,
Balgoveschensk, Moscow and Moscow Region from June to August 2003. It transpired
that real water consumption is on average 3.5 times less than that envisaged
by the standard rates. "People are paying for the water which goes
down the holes in the pipes and heating of the streets, as well as for
the non-core expenditures of the housing and utilities services,"
said Deputy Head of the YABLOKO party Sergei
St. Petersburg, Cheboksari, Kirov and Murmansk and other regions have
already joined the programme. "The money that is overpaid considerably
undermines household budgets and the present system of the housing and
utilities sector is based on unconstitutional deceit of citizens,"
said YABLOKO's leader Grigory
Yavlinsky. YABLOKO is especially concerned by attempts to create the
largest monopoly in the housing and utilities sector which will be based
on RAO UES. According to Yavlinsky, to oppose this monster, Russian citizens
should unite to protect their interests in a national civil control committee.
In autumn YABLOKO will conduct a number of parliamentary hearings and
will try to once again submit to the Duma its amendments to the housing
and communal sector reform plan, which would facilitate demonopolisation
of this sector and the attraction of small and medium-sized businesses.
The YABLOKO party has been paying for [water and heating] meters in
the houses and flats from its own funds. It costs a lot to repair a meter
– 5,000 roubles, as the monopolists also manufacture and repair
the meters. According to Yavlinsky, meters should be fixed during the
construction of houses and the residents should not pay for this service.
He added: "I have never seen passengers take a taxi and bring along
their own meter or shoppers in supermarkets bring their own scales and
and Utilities Reform