October 26, 2010 / 4:37 PM / 8 years ago

Russia's Medvedev urges energy efficiency

* Russian president scolds utilities for waste

* Economy Minister says govt not pursuing sanctions

By Alexei Anishchuk

NABEREZHNYE CHELNY, Russia Oct 26 (Reuters) - President Dmitry Medvedev scolded governors and threatened to sack executives at utilities for failing to comply with energy efficiency policies as Russia struggles to modernise.

Medvedev named fighting corruption and modernising the country’s aging Soviet-era infrastructure as his top priorities when he took office in 2008.

Chairing a meeting of the state commission on modernisation on Tuesday, he urged officials to finally work out and enforce energy efficiency programmes.

“The regional programmes of energy efficiency should start working at last,” he said. “We should push governors, so that they work more quickly on this.”

Last year Russia adopted legislation which obliged regional heads to work out energy efficiency programs by Aug 1, though many are still awaiting approval.

He singled out state-controlled regional grid company MRSK MRKH.MM and FSK (FEES.MM) for failing to take sufficient steps to modernise.

“There are many complaints about... (your) companies,” he said. “I don’t know if these complaints are justified... but there’s no smoke without a fire...and it is the state that appoints and sacks the heads.”

MRSK chief executive Nikolai Shvets defended his company’s efficiency and noted that his company’s shares had risen this year.

However, Medvedev rejected this defence.

“We are all glad here that your stocks are growing … but the activity of (your) company will not be judged only by these criteria, I want you to understand this,” he said.

Economy Development minister Elvira Nabiullina later downplayed the harsh rhetoric by telling reporters that the government was not pursuing sanctions, but simply trying to raise awareness of the problems.

Writing by Alexei Anishchuk; editing by William Hardy

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