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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mayor Calls for Electricity to Be Favored Over Gas

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov on Tuesday urged the city to use less gas and more electricity because the capital's gas network is worn out and electricity is cheaper.

The city is now using up to 115 million cubic meters of gas a day and 28 billion cubic meters a year, and consumption is expected to grow 3.6 percent a year over the next five years, Mikhail Lapir, head of the city's fuel and energy department, said at City Hall's weekly meeting.

Lapir said more than 2 million flats and 1,000 industrial enterprises in Moscow use natural gas.

A thousand kilometers of underground gas pipes have been operable for more than 40 years, Lapir said, adding that he estimates just under a million gas stoves have been used for 20 years or more and require replacement.

Each year, the city replaces some 100 kilometers of pipes, half of what is needed, and only 10,000 stoves are replaced, as opposed to 50,000 stoves a decade ago, Lapir said.

Over the next five years, the city plans to replace more than 800 kilometers of the gas grid, 157,000 gas stoves and 124,000 gas water heaters among other maintenance measures that will cost an estimated 2 billion to 2.3 billion rubles ($80 million) annually.

This year, the budget has allocated 1.7 billion rubles to support the gas supply system, and Luzhkov called for the gas officials to work within those limits.

Luzhkov also encouraged people to choose electric stoves over gas stoves and told city construction chief Vladimir Resin to ensure that gas is no longer used in new housing projects.