Address: 26/55, Bldg. 7, Kosmodamianskaya Emb., Moscow, 115035
(495) 953-91-08, 617-18-88.



On Court Practice Related to Application of Electric Power Tariffs for Public Utility Use

Anna Alexandrovna Efimova, Deputy General Director for Legal Affairs of Mosenergo, OJSC, Lecturer of the Energy Law Department of Kutafin Moscow State Law University (MSAL)

In this article, the author presents a legal analysis of court practice related to application of electric power tariffs for public utility needs of the population in respect of various consumer categories.

One of the most interesting issues in court practice are the issues of application of electric power tariffs for public utility needs of the population in respect of various consumer categories.

It is advisable to pay attention to the available practice of judicial examination of controversial issues, because it can be useful both in lawyers’ practice and in scientific studies of various aspects of Legal Regulation of the electric power industry.

For example, there is court practice on application of tariffs for electric power consumed by an underground garage. In 2013, the Presidium of the Supreme Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation examined a case on application of tariffs for electric power consumed by the underground garage, where it emphasized the legitimacy of application of an electric power tariff with decreasing coefficient to the underground garage on a basis of the fact that the underground garage belongs to communal facilities[1].

Pursuant to subcl. “a” and “h”, cl. 2 of the Rules of Maintenance of Communal Facilities[2], communal facilities include premises in an apartment house that do not form part of apartments and are meant for maintenance of more than one residential and (or) non-residential premises in this apartment house, including (in addition) service floors (inter alia, built-in garages and motor transport sites, workshops and penthouses constructed at the expense of premises owners) and service basements with utility lines, other equipment maintaining more than one residential and (or) non-residential premises in this apartment house, and other facilities meant for maintenance, operation and improvement of the apartment house, including (in addition) collective parking areas and garages located within the land plot, where the apartment house is situated.

The fact that parking places are owned by persons not living in the apartment house and are used to meet the owners’ personal needs (in this regard courts stated that there is no reason to refer them to communal facilities and it is impossible in this case to distribute their maintenance costs among all owners of apartments in the apartment house, which include consumption of electric power for lighting) has no legal significance in determination of the tariff for electric power supplied to the underground garage, because the status of this basement having utility lines does not affect the ownership of parking places located therein by the persons not living in such a house.

The fact that owners of parking places include persons not belonging to owners of premises in the apartment house equipped with installed electric stoves does not affect the legal regime of the underground garage as a communal facility. Besides, failure to apply the electric power tariff established by a regulatory body with decreasing coefficient infringes the rights of those owners of parking places, who also own residential premises in this house.

In this respect, the underground garage located in the basement of the apartment house equipped with electric stoves shall be referred to communal facilities, and the tariff established by the regulatory body for such houses with decreasing coefficient shall be applied in settlements for consumed electric power.

The Resolution of the Presidium of the Supreme Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation on the said case states that classification of the underground garage as communal facilities in determination of the applied electric power tariff with decreasing coefficient does not affect the citizens’ property rights to the parking places.

Attention should also be drawn to court practice in settlement of disputes related to the need to pay for electric power in common areas of an apartment house. Resolution of the Presidium of the Supreme Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation dd. January 22, 2008 No. 10211/07[3] draws a conclusion that it is necessary to pay for electric power consumed in common areas of an apartment house equipped with installed electric stoves as per a uniform tariff for the population established with decreasing coefficient.

Communal facilities, which include built-in garages with parking places, are covered by the regime of common areas. Payments for electric power consumed by a basement of an apartment house equipped with electric stoves, wherein parking places are located, shall be charged as per a tariff with decreasing coefficient.

It is also advisable to review the conclusions drawn in Resolution of the Presidium of the Supreme Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation dd. March 6, 2012 No. 14340/11[4] regarding the invalidation of refusal to refer a water motor club to the group of consumers using electric power for public utility needs, which are subject to calculation of tariffs by the group “Population”.

Having found out that all electric power acquired by the club is used by citizens owning premises for storage of boats and small vessels only for public utility needs, courts sustained the claims and gave an expansive interpretation of the list of non-commercial associations of citizens equivalent to the tariff group “Population”.

The Resolution states that such an interpretation complies with the general criterion of referring electric power consumers to the category “Population” implying the use of this energy for public utility needs, which was established by cl. 27 of the Methodical Guidelines for Calculation of Regulated Tariffs and Prices for Electric Power (Heat Energy) in the Retail (Consumer) Market approved by Order of the Federal Tariff Service dd. August 6, 2004 No. 20-э/2[5].

Pursuant to Order of the Federal Tariff Service dd. September 16, 2014 No. 1442-э “On Approving the Methodical Guidelines for Calculation of Electric Power (Capacity) Tariffs for the Population and Equivalent Categories of Consumers, Tariffs for Services of Transmission of Electric Power Supplied to the Population and Equivalent Categories of Consumers”[6], the Methodical Guidelines for Calculation of Regulated Tariffs and Prices for Electric Power (Heat Energy) in the Retail (Consumer) Market approved by Order of the Federal Tariff Service dd. August 6, 2004 No. 20-э/2 shall not apply in regard to state regulation of electric power (capacity) prices (tariffs) for the population since November 11, 2014.

Pursuant to the Methodical Guidelines approved by Order of the Federal Tariff Service dd. September 16, 2014 No. 1442-э, the following consumer categories are equivalent to the population:

- horticultural, market-gardening or dacha non-commercial associations of citizens – non-commercial organizations founded by citizens on a voluntary basis to assist its members in addressing general socio-economic problems of horticulture farming, market gardening and dachas;

- legal entities acquiring electric power (capacity) for consumption by convicted persons in premises of their accommodation subject to available separate metering of electric power for the said premises;

- religious organizations funded by congregation;

- guarantee suppliers, retail electricity suppliers and power providers acquiring electric power (capacity) for resale to the population and equivalent consumer categories in volumes actually consumed by the population and equivalent consumer categories and volumes of electric power used in common areas for citizens’ public utility needs and not used for commercial (professional) activities;

- associations of citizens acquiring electric power (capacity) to use it in household buildings (cellars, sheds) they own;

- non-commercial associations of citizens (garage construction cooperatives, garage cooperatives) and citizens owning free-standing garages acquiring electric power (capacity) to consume it for public utility needs and not for commercial activities.

The Resolution of the Presidium of the Supreme Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation on the above case also stipulates that failure to mention in the Methodical Instructions, in addition to associations, citizens owning premises for storage of vehicles (garages) as well as associations of citizens owning premises for storage of boats and small vessels (slipways) among non-commercial associations of citizens equivalent to the consumer category “Population” cannot constitute grounds for refusal to refer the club to the said consumer category, if the above citizens use electric power only for public utility needs not associated with their entrepreneurial activities.

This article reviewed only one issue of court practice in settlement of electric power disputes regarding application of electric power tariffs for public utility needs of the population. In this respect, it should be noted that other issues forming court practice are of great interest, because legal Regulation of the electric power industry develops rapidly, the legislation is subject to frequent amendments and updates, and not all arising disputes are settled before judicial proceedings are taken.



[1] Resolution of the Presidium of the Supreme Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation dd. September 24, 2013 No. 6037/13. URL: http://www.arbitr.ru/as/pract/post_pres/1_1_aae59544-a4fc-4cff-86d2-75dbc28f2348.html (in Russian).

[2] Resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation dd. August 13, 2006 No. 491 “On Approving the Rules of Maintenance of Communal Facilities in the Apartment House and the Rules of Changing the Amount of Charge for Maintenance and Repair of Residential Premises, if Services and Works in Management of the Apartment House Facilities were of Poor Quality and (or) Provided with Intervals Exceeding the Established Duration” // Rossiyskaya Gazeta, August 22, 2006.

[3] Resolution of the Presidium of the Supreme Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation dd. January 22, 2008 No. 10211/07. URL: http://www.arbitr.ru/? id_sec=353&id_doc=6308 (in Russian).

[4] Resolution of the Presidium of the Supreme Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation dd. March 6, 2012 No. 14340/11. URL: http://www.arbitr.ru/bras.net/f.aspx?id_casedoc=1_1_6be3a575-922f-47ec-a249-38fef4442835 (in Russian).

[5] Order of Federal Tariff Service dd. August 6, 2004 No. 20-э/2 “On Approving the Methodical Guidelines for Calculation of Regulated Tariffs and Prices for Electric Power (Heat Energy) in the Retail (Consumer) Market” // Rossiyskaya Gazeta, November 2, 2004 (in Russian).

[6] Order of the Federal Tariff Service dd. September 16, 2014 No. 1442-э “On Approving the Methodical Guidelines for Calculation of Electric Power (Capacity) Tariffs for the Population and Equivalent Categories of Consumers, Tariffs for Services of Transmission of Electric Power Supplied to the Population and Equivalent Categories of Consumers” // Rossiyskaya Gazeta, October 31, 2014; Rossiyskaya Gazeta, November 7, 2014 (specification) (in Russian).