Residents of Kozlov, a village in the Olomouc region, were shocked to receive their bills for heating and water, including heating. Some residents were informed they would have to pay more than CZK 100,000 for the previous year, and many are concerned that they cannot afford it. The village has 267 inhabitants and owns around 120 apartments, making the bills unaffordable for many of them.
The local authorities deny any responsibility for the high bills and argue that the residents can only blame themselves for the excessive charges. The sources claim that some residents have been underpaying for their utilities for years and now face extreme bills. Some residents have struggled to pay their bills for several years and meet even more significant debts.
One resident, Jana Zacharková, who lives with her ex-husband in a three-room apartment, has to pay CZK 107,972. She said: “What we pay is crazy. Every year it gets worse. Last year I had to pay around CZK 40,000. I don’t know how to deal with it. I’m on a disability pension. When I asked the mayor to explain it, he didn’t want to discuss it. He said that if I didn’t pay, he would evict me. Before I can pay my debts, the next year’s bill will arrive, and I will never be able to get out of this situation.”
Another resident, Jan Procházka, has to pay CZK 36,780. He is not prepared to accept the bill and will demand that the village does something about it. He explained that he and his family have been saving money wherever possible. However, his monthly payments have increased from CZK 7,000 to CZK 12,500 since January this year.
The local mayor, Roman Fojtík, explains that the high charges result from the steep rise in energy prices. The village operates on spot prices, and no one was willing to make a contract, so it was unclear how much each service would cost. For 2022, the village had to pay CZK 3.19 million for gas, compared to CZK 995,000 for the previous year.
The mayor has argued that the residents can only blame themselves for their high bills. He says that many have set their utility payments too low, and their consumption has been excessively high. He asked them to increase their revenues and save, but they did not respond. However, some residents deny this and say the mayor told them they only needed to pay around CZK 1,000 per month. The discrepancy between the two accounts has yet to be resolved.
Residents are now left to pay the bills or face eviction. The authorities are not providing any solution to the problem. It is unclear how many residents will be able to pay their bills, but the situation is dire for many, and they will need to find a solution quickly.