Anger in Dunaújváros as residents go without water and heating

On Monday morning, residents of Dunaújváros, an industrial town of 48,000 residents located 70 km south of Budapest, once named after Joseph Stalin, are planning to hold a protest in front of the offices of the privately-held company that provides heating services and potable water to locals. The firm in question,  the Water, Sewer and Heat Supplier of Dunaújváros, abbreviated as DVCSH Kft., sent a letter to residents indicating in no uncertain terms that the Orbán government’s populist policy of utility rate cuts has resulted in a deficit of between 450 to 480 million forints for the company. The growing losses now “endanger the sustainability of the service” and also meant that the company had to lower the thermostat, providing less heat to homes in what is proving to be an unusually cold January in much of Hungary. Additionally, the extreme cold, the Danube’s low water levels and the municipality’s demand that the firm provide water to a mysterious, unnamed client (presumably a larger business) that falls out of its service zone, means that residents are increasingly going without running water.

There are numerous reports of Dunaújváros parents using store-bought mineral water to bathe their children, because water is barely trickling out of the tap. In most homes, it is no longer possible to flush the toilet.

Locals are organising on Facebook, with hundreds of people venting their frustration. The town’s Fidesz party mayor, Gábor Cserna, however, sent a bizarre and polemical letter to residents blaming not only what it sees as a profit-hungry firm for the situation, but pointing the finger at two of the Orbán government’s favourite targets as well: former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, who left office seven years ago, and the Jobbik party.

“We will not allow the best interests of our residents to suffer because as a result of the government’s successful lowering of utility rates, the minority shareholder of DVCSH Kft can no longer make such a large profit as it had in previous years. Our municipality keeps the interests of residents in mind, in contrast to the discredited Jobbik party, whose politicians are not only attacking the policy of utility rate decreases, but are also aligning themselves with the migrant-friendly Gyurcsány-party. They are, in the most petty manner, trying to profit from the current situation”–wrote Mayor Cserna in a letter to residents.

Dunaújváros city centre, with City Hall on the left.

Dunaújváros city centre, with City Hall on the left.

In its own letter to residents, DVCSH tried to explain how the populist utility rate cuts initiated by the national government really meant that the state still collected more or less the same fees from locals, but simply slashed how much of this money was passed on to the local suppliers of heat, sewage and water services. Not only does this result in the type of shortages and outages now being seen in Dunaújváros, but it also means that critical infrastructure is not being updated and modernised. DVCSH informed residents that it plans to take legal action against the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority and asked for the support of locals in this initiative.

DVCSH provides services to some 26,000 homes in Dunaújváros and in neighbouring villages. Some 55,000 locals are negatively impacted by a situation that is increasingly untenable–especially in the dead of winter.

5 Comments

  1. HUNGARIAN HATRED IS A TWO-EDGED SWORD

    Good to see HFP again covering a significant event with important implications for the status quo in Orban’s imploding fiefdom.

    The scenario is quite clear. Orban has gained and held power by nothing deeper or more ingenious than instinctively mobilizing the culture’s unpretty penchant for blaming and hating.

    But the desperate attempt to pin the real and inevitable disastrous consequences of things like Orban’s utility rate-drop scam on Gyurcsany shows that Orban is running out of the usual scapegoats to vilify and blame for the inevitable and growing consequences of his own ruinous misgoverning and cavernous corruption.

    For once things get bad enough and the Hungarian hate culture turns, inevitably, for lack of fresh targets, on him, he will be hoist with his own petard.

    Let’s hope some of the enormous offshore stash of the shameful fortune he and his cronies have been sucking out of hungry Hungary can be recovered to put Hungary back on its feat.

    Otherwise the only thing left will be the blocks and mortar from his football stadiums, rails and rolling-stock of his choo-choo train, and his imperial on-shore real-estate assets for Hungarians to cash in and try to start over…

    [I wait patiently for the HFP troll(s?) and their usual diversionary spoor, which will alas abide longer than the microsecond it would take to bin it, if only HFP were to begin at long last to provide rubbish-collection rather than a bulletin board for fetid graffiti in its comment section…]

  2. The Orban mafia
    – not only stole 1800 billion from the private pension funds accumulated in the past the past,
    – not only steals roughly 1.5-2% GDP every year now,
    – but also steals from the future by not investing in infrastructure and by not contributing some 350 billion/year to pensions funds (as all previous government did, even in the crisis 2008, 2009).

    BTW Isn’t Sorsos also responsible for the heating miseries in the country?

  3. I am sure that for the usual leftlibs here every drop of temperature is Orbán’s fault.

  4. Kalasz Musztafa says:

    Ummm this building is an old komcsi “made-in-china” piece of junks. I would bulldoze that stupid building without any hesitation, and build Dunapentele’s brand new football stadium, a super brand new one.
    Oh not just this communist junks in Dunapentele I would demolish, I would demolish every single komcsi-szar buildings that came out in the 50’s to 80’s, you won’t notice any trace of communist past in Hungary.
    Let’s gets our bulldozer ready, Hungarians. 😀

  5. When it’s raining or windy here at Lake Balaton, the electricity is often interrupted.
    Mostly only for a few seconds but often.
    Unfortunately I am working via Internet and the VPN connection to the company I am workimg for is always going down and has to be rastablished everytime
    I would happily pay more when getting the rotten cables maintained and fixed.

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