According to the heating company “Rīgas siltums”, 537 buildings were connected to heating by the end of September or 6.5% of all to which the company supplies heat. Most are educational and medical institutions, and only a few are residential.
Company spokeswoman Linda Rence said: “If we compare the data with the previous period, then, of course, they are fewer. This is due to a number of facts. One of them is the outdoor air temperature being high enough. Given the potential heat tariffs, it is also an element of saving. There are also customers who have discussed and agreed that the heating will be connected when the outdoor air temperature will not exceed +8 C for three consecutive days.”
Meanwhile, there are thousands of apartment buildings under the auspices of the Rīga House Manager (RNP), which have centralized heating, but none of them are in a hurry at the moment. In other years, the heat was supplied by 10-20 houses by now, this year – none.
“RNP has not yet started centralized heating connection and there are currently no applications that it should be connected more quickly,” commented RNP representative Krists Leiškalns. He explained that most houses in Rīga still have vertical one-pipe heating systems and do not have the option to regulate heating temperatures in apartments.
"If we are talking about the decision to reduce heating temperatures this year, then the RNP was already discussing this issue a month before the Cabinet regulations were adopted. Yes, we plan to reduce that temperature this year. How much? The plan was that, given the reality, it could be 1 - 2 degrees in most homes. There will be separate homes where the fall will be bigger.
There are houses that have historically held higher temperatures. For comfort. The main challenge, because of the old heating systems, is to ensure a steady temperature in all the apartments in the house. The nearest apartment to distribution means the temperature will be higher. On the other hand, the final apartments, the farthest from distribution, will be the threshold where the temperature is adjusted," said Leiškalns.
The residents of Riga have not invested in allocators which would account for the heat consumed. RNP and “Rīgas siltums” have been telling residents about the opportunities to save since the summer, both in the media and in workshops. There has been an interest in this, but no action.
Leiškalns explained the reasons: “There are many people who are interested in it. But the decision that this minor transformation must be carried out and that each radiator must be equipped with a pipeline to enable this regulation to be carried out according to the need must be shared. It should be understood that rebuilding and equipping each radiator on average costs between €150 and €170 per radiator. People are postponing this investment right now."
“Rīgas siltums” spokeswoman Rence confirmed that the stumbling block is also the joint decision, since at least 51% of the residents have to vote for the allocators.
The Rīga residents surveyed by Latvian Radio also agree – heating should be connected later this autumn, saying that it is not cold in the apartment yet and that there are always warm socks. On the other hand, asked if they had heard of the allocators, they said they knew but did not believe that the majority would be willing to pay for the device.