Mass heating system failures reported in Russia
Thousands of residents in several Russian regions have been left without heating, electricity and hot water in recent days following a string of boiler room and substation accidents, which were likely caused by unusually cold temperatures.
The situation has primarily affected people living in Moscow Region and Kherson Region, where temperatures have dropped to -20 and -30 Celsius, respectively, over the last week. Heating issues and power outages have also been reported near the cities of St. Petersburg, Voronezh, Kazan, Volgograd, Nizhniy Novgorod and Nakhodka, among others.
Some residents have been complaining that local authorities and utility services had failed to take precautions and were not doing enough to fix the problem.
In response to the widespread outages, on Tuesday Russian President Vladimir Putin personally instructed Emergency Situations Minister Aleksandr Kurenkov, as well as the utility company Rosseti to address the situation and ensure an uninterrupted supply of heat and electricity to the affected residential buildings.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also told the media on Tuesday that the heating issues were being caused by abnormally low temperatures as well as worn out municipal infrastructure, which has not yet been fully updated amid the ongoing housing renovation program.
Peskov noted that it is impossible to instantly upgrade all the pipes and other elements of the municipal infrastructure. However, he stressed that even though they will take a long time, perhaps more than 15 years, the renovations will eventually be completed.
The spokesman also stressed that all utility services are currently working around the clock and are doing everything in their power to restore heat and electricity to the affected homes as soon as possible.
Regarding complaints that local authorities and utility services were being negligent, Peskov stated that there was no need to issue any additional instructions regarding the monitoring of municipal infrastructure systems.
Meanwhile, the head of Russia's Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, has ordered an investigation into all of the cases of power outages in the Moscow Region, noting that new cases of “violations of consumer rights to electricity” continued to be reported via social media.