thanks to centralized system and stable financing,
in winter days almost all residents were provided
with heating in Armenia. Homes were furnished
with radiator systems in which heated water kept
apartments reasonably warm.
These days everything is changed. Specialists
say the number of buildings with such heat decreases
each year. And instead of getting normal heating
in winter days residents resort to wood and oil
stoves and fill their buildings with smoke and
soot from burning whatever is convenient.
"Eh, there were times when everything was
good; you didn't even feel what it was to say
'a cold winter'," says resident of Yerevan's
South-West district Alvard Hovhannisyan. "Many
residents of numerous buildings are sitting in
a corner swathed in a shawl or gathered around
heaters and remembering those good days with nostalgia,
when there was a stable warmth in the apartments."
Robert Bughdaryan, executive director of the
State heating facilities CJSC (Closed Joint-Stock
Company), recalls the 1995 pre-election period
for the posts in the National Assembly with great
"In that year many candidates were publicly
holding speeches assuring people that they had
already paid for people all heating bills. And
after elections, of course, it's clear that nobody
remembered the promises they had made," says
The director says that after waiting for a long
period of time many of the residents came to the
conclusion that if they didn't pay for heating
for years nobody would punish them by legislation.
Now, approximately 60 percent of residents don't
pay for the heating.
"Last year the debt of residents for heating
was 420 million drams (more than $750,000). Before
1995 almost all residents used to pay for having
stable heating," Bughdaryan says. "But
today only a part of people who get heating pay
us. We aren't even hopeful that they will cover
Winter has already hit Armenia bitterly this
year and the issue of finding warmth is a serious
concern for many.
But despite complaints of residents, officials
say affordable heating is not so expensive, costing
about 1100 drams (about $2) per square meter for
"Every year the number of buildings which
are heated by the radiator system, is decreasing
and the residents are guilty. Last year we planned
to heat 1,100 residential buildings, but this
year there will be only 700 residential buildings
heated. Residents don't pay and debts are increasing,"
says Bughdaryan. "If everything continues
this way then we will completely be deprived of
our heating facilities. We decided to be more
strict and heat apartments of only those residents
who will cover all their debts and make contracts
During Soviet times there had never been problems
with heating facilities and as a result of that
almost all apartments were heated. These days,
unlike the past, only the shadow of that system
As Bughdaryan assures, there are numerous problems
connected with that system, however, the reasons
of the greater part of those problems are first
of all residents' indifference and irresponsibility.
"If residents paid we would have possibility
to renovate our external network and pay salaries
for three years to our workers. We would have
possibility to cover huge debts for electric energy,
gas and water as it is still unclear how we are
going to compensate these debts," says Bughdaryan.
"However, our conditions are gradually becoming
more and more complicated."
Specialist on heating facilities of Yerevan's
Malatia-Sebastia community Ashot Ghazaryan assures
that besides problems with payments, many residents
also illegally use hot water flowing in the heating
tubes with the help of special taps. And with
that water they solve their everyday needs. It
is dangerous not only for the residents but for
the safety of the whole heating system as well.
"And as a result of that we get huge waste
of fuel, water and energy. Besides that, the whole
heating regime is suffering and fluctuation of
the pressure leads to the decrease of quality,"
says Ghazaryan. "And we don't know how to
fight the problems of this field as during only
several years this powerful system is facing the
problem of complete destruction that can take
place as a result of absence of the law and indifference."