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Quality and Cost of Communal Services

There are things in our lives which we all choose for ourselves. For example, when buying goods or food we make our choice based on our financial possibilities and the quality which satisfies us. But when it is about communal services, we are forced “to take what is offered” (both price-wise and quality-wise). But these services also have quality parameters prescribed in the Law of Ukraine “On Housing and Communal Services”. Let us look at the indicators defined by the legislation with respect to quality of services on district heating, hot and cold water supply, electricity and gas supply.

Service

Quantitative and qualitative indicators

District heating

Timely beginning and end of the heating season (after three days with an average day temperature of 8°С).

Uninterrupted service provision throughout the whole heating season.

Air temperature in the residential premises (upon the condition of their heat insulation) complies with the effective norms and rules ‒ 18°С (in corner rooms – 20°С).

District hot water supply

Uninterrupted service provision or provision according to the approved schedule.

Ensuring hot water temperature at the connection point not lower than 50°С and not higher than 75°С.

Water composition and properties according to the state standard for drinking water, requirements of the sanitary legislation and permits of the State Committee on Technical Regulation and Consumer Policy.

District cold water supply

 

Uninterrupted service provision or provision according to the approved schedule.

Water composition and properties according to the state standard for drinking water, requirements of the sanitary legislation and permits of the State Committee on Technical Regulation and Consumer Policy.

District sewage

 

Uninterrupted service provision.

Electricity supply

Uninterrupted service provision.

Electricity parameters and characteristics according to the norms (network voltage - 220 V).[1].

Gas supply

 

Uninterrupted service provision.

Gas parameters and characteristics according to the norms (pressure in the network, gas quality parameters).



[1] According to item 41 of the Rules for Use of Electricity for Population approved by the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine # 1357 of 07.26.1999, the consumer has the right to receive electricity qualitative characteristics of which are identified by the state standards of Ukraine.

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The amount of payment for communal services is recalculated if there the quality and quantity deviates from the norm. The legislation has established the maximum permissible deviation range, and only when it is exceeded is the service provider is obliged to make recalculation.

The legislation has established that in case of non-provision or provision not in full amount of the housing and communal services, or the lowering of their quality, the consumer has the right to a reduction of the amount of payment for the provided services, and in certain cases payment is not collected at all.

Below, you can find the tolerances of the communal services indicators, and amounts of payment reduction for them.

Indicator

Tolerable rate for indicators

Amount of payment reduction

District heating

Late beginning or early end of the heating season

Not identified

For every day in excessof tolerable rate, the payment for the provided services is reduced by3.3% of the monthly payment

Interruption in service provision

12 hours a day

(once a month)

Payment for the provided services is reduced by3.3% of the monthly paymentfor every day in excessof the tolerable rate

Actual indoor temperature is lower than the normative

12 hours a day

(once a month)

Payment for the provided services is reduced for every degree of deviation from +18°С to +12°С in residential premises (in corner roomsfrom +20°С to +14°С) by5% of payment for the period of deviation (throughout the whole period of deviation). When the temperature in the residential premises is lower than +12°С (in corner roomslower than+14°С), payment for heating is not collected

District hot water supply

Interruption of service provision

Not more than 6 hours a day (in case of 24/7 water supply) and not more than 30% of total time of service provision accordingto the approved schedule(not more than twice a month).

Payment for the provided services is reduced by3.3% of the monthly paymentfor every day in excessof the tolerable deviation period

Actual hot water temperature in connection point does not comply with the norms.

Not more than 2 minutes after opening of the water faucet.

When hot water temperature is: 1) over +50°С – payment is collected according to the established tariff; 2) from +45°С to 49°С – payment is reduced by10% for the whole period of deviation; 3) from +40°С to 44°С − payment is reduced by30% for the whole period of deviation; 4) below +40°С − paymentis collectedfor the whole period of deviationat the tariff for district cold water supply services

Water composition and properties do not comply with the state standard for drinking water, requirements of the sanitary legislation and permits of theState Committee on Technical Regulation and Consumer Policy

Prohibited.

In certain cases, the local power bodies or bodies of local self-government have the right to identify temporarily the norms for consumption, quantitative and qualitative indicatorsand schedules of service provision according to the procedure set by the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine # 630 of07.21.2005

Payment for the provided services is reduced by10% for the whole period of non-compliance of water composition and properties

District cold water supply

Interruptions in service provision

Not more than 6 hours a day (in case of 24/7 water supply) and not more than 30% of total time of service provision accordingto the approved schedule (not more than twice a month).

Payment for the provided services is reduced by3.3% of monthly the paymentfor every day in excessof the tolerable deviation period

Water composition and properties do not comply with the state standard for drinking water, requirements of the sanitary legislation and permits of theState Committee on Technical Regulation and Consumer Policy

Prohibited (or according to paragraph one of item 7 of the Rules for Providing Services on District Heating, Cold and Hot Water Supply and Sewage approved by theResolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine # 630 of 21 July  2005)

Payment for the provided services is reduced by20% for the whole period of non-compliance of water composition and properties

 

District sewage

Interruptions in service provision

One day a month (from 6 to 24 h)

Payment for the provided services is reduced by3.3% of the monthly paymentfor every day in excessof the tolerable deviation period

Electricity supply

Interruption in service provision

Not identified

In case of temporary interruption of electricity supply through the fault of the electricity supplying company, it shall be liable according to the terms of the contract inthe amount of double the cost of electricity not supplied to the consumer

Quality parameters do not comply with those indicated in the contract

Tolerable fluctuations of electric voltage is 210-230 V

Energy supplier pays25% of cost of this electricity

Gas supply

Minimum gas pressure before the gas devices is lower than minimum tolerable value envisaged by the normative documents for the gas devices (equipment)

Not identified

Payment for gas supply from the day of application submission through the day of renewal of gas supply with minimum acceptable pressure is not collected

Gas quality does not comply with the terms of standard GOST 5542-87 “Combustible natural gases for industrial and communal-and-household purposes.Technical specifications”.

Not identified

Payment for gas supply is reduced proportionally by the reduction of every gas quality parameter established by standard GOST 5542-87, from the date when the fact of such changes is established and through the day of their recovery

How to make recalculations for communal services in practice? For example, assume that the temperature in your apartment is lower than normative. Then the following succession of actions is required for recalculation:

1.    The consumer should notify the service provider (verbally or in writing) about inappropriate service provision or the non-provision of services (i.e. about the low temperature in the apartment).

2.    The service provider representative:
- is obliged to notify the consumer of the person who received this information, − full name, notice registration number and time of its receipt;

- if the reasons of inappropriate service provision or non-provision of services are known, he/she is obliged to notify the consumer on this immediately, and to make the relevant mark in the registry of applications. This is the ground for recognizing by the provider of the fact of inappropriate provision or non-provision of services;

- if the reasons of inappropriate service provision or non-provision of services are unknown, he/she is obliged to coordinate with the provider exact time and date of finding the fact of non-provision of services, their provision not in full amount or inspection of the quantitative and/or qualitative indicators of service provision. In order to conduct such an inspection in the consumer’s premises, the provider’s representative must arrive to the consumer not later than time defined in the contract.

Having arrived to the consumer, the supplier’s representative must measure the air temperature in the apartment with the help of special equipment and conduct a survey in order to detect the reasons of the deficient heat carrier quality.

It should be noted that the measurement of air temperature should be done with devices calibrated by the bodies of the State Committee of Ukraine for Standardization, Metrology and Certification. Provider representatives must arrive to compile the acts with their own thermometers. But for the cases when they may not show up, it is necessary to obtain the calibrated device, or to calibrate it independently in the local office of the State Committee of Ukraine for Standardization, Metrology and Certification. For your claim to be recognized as grounded, the apartment must be insulated, and the measurement of the air temperature should be done on the level of 1.5 m above the floor and preferably in all rooms. The claim must be compiled by the consumer and representative of the provider, and shall be signed by them. If the provider’s representative does not arrive within the period of time defined by the contract terms, or unreasonably refuses from signing of the claim, the claim is considered valid if it is signed by at least two consumers. This means, you can ask your neighbors and they will certify with their signatures the fact of non-provision or provision of poor quality services. The claim is submitted to the provider which must resolve within three business days the issue on recalculation of payments, or give you a written refusal in satisfaction of the claim.

The provider is obliged to consider within the period of time set by the legislation the claims and complaints of the consumer, and make the relevant recalculations of the amount of payment for the housing and communal services in case of their non-provision or provision outside of the norms.

If no answer to the claim is given in three days, it is believed that the provider has recognized the facts presented in the claim, and is obliged to make recalculation accordingly.  

In case of disagreement with the results of inspection of quantitative and/or qualitative indicators of service provision, the consumer and provider must define the time and date of reinspection. A representative of the authorized executive power body and/or body of local self-government, as well as a representative of the consumer association (if there is one established in the building) are invited for conducting the reinspection. As a result of the reinspection, an act is compiled on the inappropriate provision or non-provision of services. The disputes on satisfaction of consumer claims should be resolved in court.

Improvements in the housing and communal services sector depend both on the service providers and on the consumers. The service providers must make efforts to ensure the maximum quality level of housing and communal services, while we as the consumers must exercise public control over the quality of the services provided, and pay for them on time and in full amount. 

USAID Municipal Energy Reform Project in Ukraine

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