|During the 2003/2004 autumn-winter period, the enterprises of RAO "UES of Russia" were able to ensure reliable and uninterrupted power supply to consumers despite extremely adverse weather in some areas of Russia in January –March this year. During the 2003/2004 autumn-winter period, the RAO UES entities generated an estimated 368.5 TWh, which represents an increase of 17,88 TWh compared to the previous autumn-winter season. December 2003 saw the maximum load of the Holding's power plants over the past nine years.
Throughout the 2003/2004 autumn-winter period, RAO "UES of Russia" worked with the standard AC frequency of 50 Hz.
Such stable operation during the autumn-winter period was possible thanks to 100% winter readiness of RAO UES enterprises in terms of fuel inventories and equipment preparation. As of 1 October 2003 (beginning of the AWP), the heavy fuel oil inventories at RAO UES power plants totalled 3,298 thousand tons, or 108.7% of the target figure, whereas the coal inventories stood at 22,768.9 thousand tons (103.5% of the target). The fuel supplies in the energy systems that had caused serious concerns in the previous years in that respect, were also in excess of the target amount: "Sakhalinenergo" - 120.9 thousand tons of coal (100.8%) and 3.1 thousand tons of fuel oil (103.3%), "Dalenergo" - 510.6 thousand tons of coal (102.1%) and 25.2 thousand tons of fuel oil (100.8%), "Kamchatskenergo" - 57.1 thousand tons of fuel oil (103.8%). The fuel supplies at or above the norm at OAO "Khabarovskenergo", as well as positive operating and financial performance of the company made it possible to discontinue the direct management of the Anti-Crisis Committee of RAO "UES of Russia". As a result, RAO UES Anti-Crisis Committee retains operational management at 2 out of the 8 energy companies the ACC originally controlled (in 2001), i.e. at OAO "Kamchatskenergo" and OAO "Sakhalinenergo".
Besides, before the beginning of the 2003/2004 autumn-winter period, RAO UES enterprises were able to complete the planned repairs at all kinds of equipment, including heating networks. As a result, 100% of RAO UES enterprises received winter readiness passports in due time. The high level of training and logistics made it possible for the technical staff of OAO "Vladimirenergo", OAO "Volgogradenergo", OAO "Dagenergo", OAO "Karachaevo-Cherkesskenergo", OAO "Pskovenergo", OAO "Ryazanenergo" to liquidate all emergencies in January-March 2004 because of the line damages caused by heavy snow, avalanches, and hurricanes, thus preventing large-scale outages in energy supply.
The target fuel inventories were maintained by the enterprises of RAO "UES of Russia" throughout the autumn-winter period. This enabled the gas fired power plants of RAO "UES of Russia" located in the Central Russia and Urals to switch to the substitute fuel and ensure uninterrupted power supply to consumers despite the significant (10-10%) reduction in gas supplies caused by the accident at the Yamburg-Yelets gas pipeline in February this year.
The main condition for purchasing sufficient amounts of fuel is full and timely payment for the fuel supplies, which, it turn, depends on consumers' payments for the heat and electricity supplied to them. Thanks to the efficient work of the energy retail units of RAO "UES of Russia" in 2003, the energy sales throughout the Holding, taking into account the recovery of arrears, made 101%. The receivables of the Holding's entities declined by 15.2% to RUB67.73 billion as of 1 January 2004. However, in some energy companies the level of collection of electricity and heat payments for January-February this year was extremely low: in OAO "Yantarenergo" it made 72% of the amounts billed, in OAO "Astrakhanenergo" – 78%, in OAO "Kostromaenergo" - 73%, in OAO "Tulenergo" 74%, in OAO "Sverdlovenergo" 77%, in OAO "Kabbalkenergo" 86%. The major debtors of RAO "UES of Russia" are still the housing utility enterprises financed from the local budgets: as of the end of February, the debts owed by them totalled RUB 39 billion and RUB13 billion, respectively. In this situation, the energy companies were forced to limit energy supplies to non-payers in full accordance with the laws in force.
During the 2003/2004 autumn-winter period, there were not any failures in heat supply to consumers in the area of responsibility of RAO "UES of Russia". However, because of the accidents at the facilities of the housing and utilities sector, it was not possible to fully avoid problems with heat supply (RAO UES enterprises generate 72% of electricity and 32,8% of heat, which means that the housing and utility enterprises account for the bulk of heat supplies). During the autumn-winter period, repair crews of RAO "UES of Russia" had to help on several occasions the housing sector utilities to liquidate accidents at the electricity and heating networks in Volgograd Region, Leningrad Region, Samara Region, and the city of Samara. On 25 March, RAO "UES of Russia" and OAO "Russian Communal Systems" ("RKS")* signed an Agreement on Cooperation under which subsidiaries of OAO "RKS" may use the supplies and equipment available in the warehouses and production bases of the SDCs of RAO "UES of Russia" in order to prevent or handle emergencies.
Upon completion of the 2003/2004 autumn-winter period, RAO "UES of Russia" enterprises start preparations for the 2004/2005 winter already on 1 April 2004.
* OAO "Russian Communal Systems" ("RKS") was founded by RAO "UES of Russia" together with Gazprombank, Evrofinance Bank, Evrazholding, Interros, Kuzbassrazrezugol, and Renova in May 2003 (RAO "UES of Russia" holds a 25% stake in the Company). By 15 February 2004, OAO "RKS" had signed agreements on cooperation in restructuring the housing sector utilities with the administrations of 28 federal and municipal formations.