Changes to How Utility Infrastructure Procedures are Regulated

Legal Update No 863

BCLP advises that a number of laws have been passed changing the procedures relating to the utility infrastructure, including its construction, connection and operation.

Federal Law No. 276-FZ dated 1 July 2021 "On Amendments to the Town Planning Code and Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation"

Changes have been made to the Russian Town Planning Code pertaining to capital facility connections to utility networks and reconstruction/overhaul of existing linear facilities.

Technical conditions for connecting capital facilities to utilities will now only be issued during conclusion of the connection agreement.

Previously, two types of document were issued for connection to gas, heat, water supply and water disposal networks: interim technical conditions issued at the initial project implementation stage and detailed technical conditions issued at the next stage, i.e., when the connection agreement was concluded. One specific feature of the interim conditions was that they bound the issuing utility company/resource supplier to continue with the connection procedure, if the applicant requested them to proceed on time (i.e., interim technical conditions were a sort of offer). Now, instead of interim technical conditions, information will be issued regarding the possibility of connection (information about maximum load, potential connection points and the utility company/resource supplier). This information will be included in the land plot development plan and, as a general rule, will not be in the nature of an offer by utility company/resource suppliers.

In addition, following the changes, a commissioning permit for a capital facility may only be issued if a signed statement is available on the capital facility’s connection to utilities (currently, capital facilities are sometimes commissioned in practice even if connected to utilities only temporarily or not at all). 

The possibility has been introduced of paying for the capital facility’s connection to utilities with reference to designing, construction and reconstruction phases if such distinct phases are envisaged by the design documents for construction/reconstruction of the capital facility.

A general procedure has also been created for reconstruction and overhaul of existing linear facilities if such work is needed to construct, reconstruct or overhaul a number of capital facilities (linear facilities serving the public transport infrastructure, apartment blocks, terraced houses and also communal, transport and social infrastructure facilities indispensable for such housing). In this case, the owner of an existing linear facility will enter into a contract with the new capital facility developer to regulate its reconstruction/overhaul, including the capital facility developer’s duty to compensate the owner for the relevant costs in cash or in kind. A Russian Government Resolution to regulate the procedure in more detail is yet to be passed.

The Federal Law takes effect on 1 September 2021. The new connection rules will not apply to capital facility connections effected on the basis of technical conditions issued before 1 September 2021, including if they are prolonged.

Federal Law No. 298-FZ dated 2 July 2021 “On Amending Article 51 of the Russian Town Planning Code”

No construction permit and, consequently, no commissioning permit is required for constructing or reconstructing facilities intended for transporting natural gas under a pressure of up to 1.2 MPa, inclusive (the previously effective threshold was 0.6 MPa).

Federal Law No. 170-FZ dated 11 June 2021 “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in connection with adoption of the Federal Law “On State Control (Supervision) and Municipal Control in the Russian Federation”

The requirement for power supply operations to be licensed was lifted on 1 July 2021.

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