Central Heating Comes Early

Central Heating Comes Early

Published: September 28, 2011 (Issue # 1676)

St. Petersburg residents are to have their state-controlled central heating turned on slightly earlier this year than in previous years, with the heating being turned on periodically from last Thursday.

Last year, the central heating season began on Oct. 1, while in 2009, apartment buildings began being heated on Sept. 29.

The first buildings to have their heating turned on are, as usual, kindergartens and other educational establishments, hospitals and other social care establishments.

Initially, residential buildings are being heated for several hours per day. The heating will be left on when the city sees average temperatures of no higher than 8 degrees for five days in a row, in keeping with the city’s policy on central heating.

According to Sergei Tomashevsky, deputy head of City Hall’s Housing Committee, there are 22,375 buildings that required maintenance work to prepare them for the winter. The local district administrations have carried out the necessary repair work on 22,304 buildings, of which 21,779 had been inspected by a technical commission by Sept. 22, according to a report presented by Vladimir Zyabko, head of the state housing inspectorate, at a meeting of an inter-departmental commission devoted to preparations for the winter.

But only 21,024 of the buildings inspected were certified by the commission. The other 755 buildings are officially ready for the winter season, but were not certified because of some violations that need to be corrected. The total sum of the fines incurred by these violations is more than 6 million rubles ($190,000).

Only 40 percent of residential buildings did not have any problems this year, according to Zyabko. Every second roof had some damage, he said.

One of the main problems of St. Petersburg is the city’s worn out central heating networks. After being turned off for the summer months, 97 percent of the pipes are in working condition, according to Tomashevsky. Three districts, however, are not completely ready. These are the Tsentralny, Vyborgsky and Petrodvortsovy districts. All repair works in these districts are due to be completed by Oct. 1.

In spite of the optimistic reports from all the departments, the authorities predict that problems could arise during the winter because of the city’s antiquated, worn-out heating systems.

“According to the reports, everybody is ready,” said Sergei Kozyrev, deputy governor of the city, at a meeting of the inter-departmental commission.

“As for me, I’ll do my best and will sleep for two hours a day in order to work all the rest of the time. Of course, I’m not a magician, but I will do everything that I can.”

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