Radet, the state-owned company that supplies Bucharest with hot water for district heating systems, is losing as much as 2,000 tons of hot water an hour, according to a local politician.
The claim was made by Ciprian Ciucu, a member of Bucharest council. As well as wasting energy, he said, the leaks were undermining the integrity of buildings in the city.
Addressing Gabriela Firea, the mayor of Bucharest, he was quoted by Romanian website Politica as saying: "Are you aware that the hot water lost by Radet – that is, more than a thousand tons an hour – affects the soil beneath the houses, blocks, schools, hospitals and streets of Bucharest?"
He added in a Facebook post: "Today the loss reached 2,000 tons per hour. The Radet network is in very bad shape and so the pressure needs to be increased for the heat to reach the houses. And when the pressure goes up, other damage occurs. It’s a vicious circle."
Another Romanian website, G4 Media, said the energy losses amounted to €170,000 a day. It added that although it was known that Radet’s 40-year-old pipes lost water, nobody realised how much.
It is also clear that Radet – the acronym stands for Autonomous Heat Distribution Company – is unable to fix the system on its own, partly because it has declared itself to be insolvent, and partly because the system is so immense, with some 950km of main pipes and almost 3,000km of secondary pipes supplying 562,000 flats in 8,200 apartment blocks.
As a result of the losses, apartment buildings in the city are sometimes left without heat in winter. In one recent incident, 180 apartment buildings were cut off by a failure in the network.
Image: Radets workers in action in Bucharest (Radets)