Around 250 residents of Skulte have received announcements that they will no longer have electricity from July next year. The history of the village is to blame: it was a soldier dwelling during the Soviet period and when the occupation powers left Latvia, only a temporary solution was reached. It has stayed like that until now. The issue of ownership was never resolved.
In addition, the electricity supply infrastructure does not meet the technical requirements, and there is a lack of appropriate documentation. The electricity supply networks should be re-constructed which in turn means significant costs for residents.
On the other hand, a resident of the village of Tīraine, Andrejs, told the Latvian Television broadcast "4. studija" that on 25 October 2021, Mārupe utilities company had decided to withdraw from the networks in their possession. This means that hundreds of people may have to live in the dark unless they build a new electricity grid. There is no owner for the electricity networks of these houses, the networks are old and dangerous.
“Residents think it should be clarified how our funds were used and how the infrastructure that we paid for all 30 years was maintained. Why exactly now that heating season and major bills are expected? On what basis is the decision to opt out instead of sorting out the infrastructure? If these networks are out of date, why don't you set them up and return them to the electricity distribution networks,” Andrejs said.
Dace Šveide, board member of Mārupe utilities, explained that the current statutory revenue – 10% of the distribution service – did not even cover an electrician's monthly salary.
“I understand the situation and I see risks both for costs on heating and for this season as such. But the decision has been taken and we will really stop that electricity,” Šveide said.
Problems with these networks have long been identified, emergency repairs have to be carried out regularly, but they are not owned by anyone, and no one wants to take responsibility or repair them.
Ervīns Straupe, a board member of the Latvian Association of House Managers, said that he is puzzled that “in the territory of Pierīga, which is one of the largest, most prosperous municipalities in the country”, it is possible that hundreds of citizens suddenly lose electricity.
"For 30 years, someone has been aware of the fact that there is a specific problem and no attempt has been made to find a solution to this problem in 30 years. It is currently under a year during which consent must actually be reached, the costs to be ascertained, all agreed, arranged with the distribution network, the design and construction needs to be carried out. And this is at this point, when not only are electricity prices high, but construction costs are huge,” Straupe said.
Mārupe utility company will connect to the distribution network and see, as a possible solution, the purchase of electricity that will then be transferred to the residents of neighboring houses through the old networks, but the repairs will still be on the shoulders of the people themselves.