Anatoli Chubais, the head of the Yedinye Energosistemy Russian stock company, bravely reported that Russian energy suppliers had prepared well for the winter. However, people cannot be warmed with words. In Ulyanovsk, Volga region, five schools have already stopped lessons. Some parents ask why other schools have not been closed, because children cannot spend even half an hour there, not to mention lessons being conducted: it is really very cold there.
In some schools, children sit in warm overcoats and mittens, though it does not help. Lessons last for only 30 minutes instead of the usual 45. In many schools, the temperature is under 12 degrees Celsius, while it should be at least + 18. Lessons should be stopped when is falls to + 14. Parents demand that the schools be closed, becase they are not heated and their children often catch colds. However, they don't speak of trying to heat the buildings, because they know that it is hopless. In most of the blocks of flats, the central heating radiators are almost cold, so even having come home, children cannot get warm. People try to use individual electrical heaters, so the electricity supply network cannot bear such capacity, and the lights often go out.
Energy suppliers of Ulyanovsk also belong to the Yedinye Energosistemy Russian stock company. They have probably prepared well for the winter. However, it is not clear what the preparations were.
The stress seems to have been made on the psychological firmness of the Ulyanovsk citizens, because, recently, Ulyanovsk authorities did not pay for the electricity. It is not clear where the money has disappeared to that the citizens have been paying for electricity; they now pay for the cold in their flats. The city authorities refer to the local budget, where big funds for heating were not planned. According to an agreement the authorities signed with Chubais, previous heat debts are being restructured, while the energy suppliers must normally heat the city. Ulyanovsk citizens cannot understand why after such an agreement, the energy suppliers still do not supply enough energy to heat Ulayanovsk flats. According to some reports, the temperature in the central heating has been decreased till the minimally permissible level. In other words, batteries heat themselves, while people have to be cold. In other cities of the Volga region, the average temperature level in the central heating radiators is 20-30 degrees higher than in Ulaynovsk. Yes, energy supplier have prepared for winter. Ulyanovsk citizens are glad to know this. Though, to what party does Mr Chubais, the leader of Russian energy suppliers belong? Recently, he said while going on the air, he hoped to gather a great amount of voices in the next election. However, he hardly can count on Ulyanovsk voters.
Sergei Nikolaev PRAVDA.Ru Ulyanovsk
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2001/12/21/35055.html