Dragan Azdejković, CEO, Public Utility Company Toplana, Kruševac

Finally – All Boilers Working

Following frequent interruptions in heating last year due to worn-out system components, Toplana received four million euros from the Government of Serbia for the reconstruction of four boilers, so now the problem is solved

For the first time, the people of Kruševac have gas heating, which has many good aspects, but we are not giving up on coal either. The Toplana management does not want to depend on imported energy, which must be paid immediately.

Toplana had problems until this winter in delivering heat to consumers, but you rebuilt the boilers before the beginning of the heating season. What is the situation now?

– The heating season started on time and all our customers have warm radiators. We have completed the reconstruction of both gas boilers, which have not worked since 2006 when they were purchased, and one coal boiler. Parts for the reconstruction of the second coal boiler have also arrived. When all boilers start running at full capacity, we will have more than 90 megawatts of energy, which is sufficient not only for existing, but also for new customers. I must emphasize that we could not have completed this great work without the assistance of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, which, after the arrival of President Aleksandar Vucic, allocated four million euros from the budget for these purposes. A combined operation of coal and gas boilers achieves stability in the supply of thermal energy and considerable savings, while reducing environmental pollution.

The city’s heating plant has more than 8,500 users, but supplies 5,000 consumers. What about the others? Do you charge for heating per square metre or by consumption?

– The number of our users has already exceeded 9,000, because as many as 90 percent of investors have signed a contract for the connection of new facilities to the Toplana system with its central heat source. We are currently heating 7,000 apartments and almost all municipal institutions and establishments, and I think there is no reason for anyone to complain about the price of heating.

When the reconstruction of the fourth boiler is complete, the heating plant will have more than 90 megawatts of installed power, which is sufficient for future users

For example, heating a 50 square meter apartment costs 4,200 dinars without VAT. In our municipality we charge for most of the heating by the square meter, and a smaller amount by consumption in order to give citizens enough time to invest money in the replacement of facades, in additional insulation, to change the windows. There is a huge difference in the cost of heating buildings that are energy efficient and buildings that are 30-40 years old, and there are many in our city.

We hope that in the coming period the Municipality will find a way to help the housing communities to apply for funds intended to improve energy efficiency.

As you promised before the start of the season, you did not change the price of heating. What energy sources do you use? Is coal cheaper or more expensive than gas and what is the collection rate?

– The price of heating has not changed for five years and I think it is among the lowest, if not the lowest in Serbia.

Despite this, we have a problem with outstanding claims, but the situation is slowly improving. We are lacking about 140 million dinars from households and we are constantly calling on debtors for an agreement. We offer them reprogramming and payment in installments, because that is better and cheaper both for us and for them than paying through an executor. The rate of collection is far higher in buildings that have built-in meters because we can cut off individual debtors in them, which is not feasible in old buildings. The monthly collection of claims is currently 75 percent, and with the debts that the citizens are paying, we get as much as 100 percent of the collection.

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