September 30, 2022

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Stunning Castegnato (Brescia) bills: ‘District heating prisoners: costs triple, no alternatives, house goes down’

“This time I will not be the Italian who complains but in the end pays.” This is what was said last spring Lorena Agustinresiding in Castignato in province Brescia. In 2010, the municipality opened its district heating network, which is pipes that circulate hot water that transfers heat to connected building systems. “My husband and I bought the house in December 2015 and the fact that it was local heating was an added value to the property: increased efficiency and savings,” she explains. Because district heating networks, which have undergone great development in the past decade also in our country, promise more Energy saving Also thanks to the possibility of recovering heat from sources alternative to fossil sources. But since last year local operator prices, Cogeme Nuove Energy, they began to rise. “In one year, the quarterly bill went from 308 euros to 960 euros, more than three times,” says Agosti, who decided to counterattack by collecting hundreds of signatures on a petition to the municipality that, as a shareholder in Cogeme, “ It should protect citizens from what we consider unjustified increases.” But so far the municipality has not responded yet, and the situation seems to many prison. Because where district heating arrives, the gas network does not always arrive, and the only alternative would be to have a heat pump with a photovoltaic system, “at great costs, especially for a house that was purchased only six years ago and which in the meantime, precisely because of the increase in heating, It loses value.”

District heating bills have gone up all over Italy, with a lot of protests and commissions exposed, especially in areas where service is more extensive, Lombardy And the Piedmont Before. Increases that are not delivered even to the municipalities from which most of the heat that feeds the network comes alternative sources With minimal use of natural gas. In Brescia, where 70 per cent of the heat comes from waste placed in thermostatDirector A2A He has frozen the price until the end of the year. Then who knows, because in Italy there is no national regulation of central heating tariffs and it is the operators who set the price. When it was banned in January, the cost of a kilowatt-hour for heating the Brescia region had already exceeded 0.13 euros, which is higher than the cost of gas used in a condensing boiler, which is slightly lower than the national average. In short, the proposed option as more environmentally sustainable It’s not for users’ pockets. Big problem, as the mayors of Brescia, Milan, Varese and Turin wrote in the government, but without an answer.

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If you then pass from the capital to the county, things will only get worse. This is the case of Castegnato with KWh coming in at €0.26. “It is the highest number in Italy, where the average is 0.18 euros per kilowatt-hour, that of Legambiente told us”, reports Lorena Agosti. The fate that unites the city 270 users. The number is key to this story, because the company running the network planned to connect 1,260 users. “But over the years, building contractors have preferred to move to other technologies, identifying Outdated Central heating. They were right in front of the judge and the network was stuck at stake, undersized compared to the manager’s expectations,” explains Agusti, who immediately represents the local district heating commission’s representative. The administration was asked “to take an active role in supporting the employed citizens in the face of unjustified increase in bills.” In the petition to the municipality, the citizens also requested “that it be possible disconnect from network Switching to a gas station, which is currently impossible due to lack of access to the natural gas network or because necessary changes to electrical systems are expensive.”

This type of local monopoly which relate to district heating networks, combined with the lack of national regulations on tariffs that leave operators the right to set them, have transformed a seemingly virtuous service into A cage that is hard to get out of, especially now that bills have reached unsustainable levels. Agusti asks: “We have no alternatives, if we move away what are we going to do?” The gas grid does not reach his house and replacing everything with an electric system means having a photovoltaic system and a heat pump and changing the hydraulic and electrical systems. “For us it would be at least 20 thousand euros, in a house my husband and I bought a few years ago,” she continues. In fact, adding to the billing problem is the problem of real estate losing value: “Who would buy this house with similar bills and no alternatives?” , Asks. A type of imprisonment that could even be formed as an obligation, and based on this premise, the Commission and its advisors are evaluating the next possible actions to be taken.

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Meanwhile, Agusti, who represents the committee, has demanded for months a joint meeting with the mayor and Kojim, “never agreed.” Because the relationship between the principal and the municipality, the relationship of Cogeme 6.6 percent of the sharesCastegnatesi would like to see clearly. “When we bought the house, in the invoices as in the contract that we signed, it was written that ‘the price is set by the municipal administration on the proposal of the director,’ which should be logically a guarantee of the protection of the citizens employed, no?”, continues Agosti. “But then we found out that in the 2014 agreement, subscribers authorize the company to set prices. In short, of the two, one: Did we sign a fake?” Rather still no answerdespite the 560 signatures collected in less than ten days and the fact that among the offending bills there is also the signature of the municipal school, which was passed from 4 thousand Euro 12 thousand. But above all in the face of users’ concerns that costs rise moreIn light of the gas prices that have been driven crazy by the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine.