• Vylius Leonavičius, Dainius Genys,


Transformation, energy risk, risk society, modernization, the Baltic States


The aim of the article is to reveal the process of energy risk transformation, which creates concrete hazards for citizens of the Baltic States. The article analyzes two sides of the same problem - district heating (DH) and the renovation of multi-apartment houses. The article will show that the transformation of energy risk is affected by the legacy of a specific constellation of technological, economic and social elements of Soviet infrastructure that appears in a specific and particularly precarious shape under conditions of liberal market capitalism as regards energy security.

The article consists of four parts. The first part describes the issue of district heating and shows its relation with social science. The second part describes the relation of energy risk with modernization and shows how the change of structural conditions (change from industrial society to risk society) transform concrete aspects of energy system (DH which were build to meet society’s need) from less risky to a serious hazard for society (which due to the rise of risk society no longer satisfies society’s needs and becomes an unsolvable problem). The third part discusses the two aspects of state socialism housing policy: social and economic. The social aspect of Soviet housing policy was a part of society's social homogenization, carried out by Soviet authorities. The economic aspect refers to the Soviet state's priorities that pushed the housing provision into the periphery of social policy. The fourth part discusses the attempts of already independent countries to solve DH problems. It is demonstrated that active and independent decisions requiring business model was imposed on passive society strongly dependent upon government decisions. Therefore, the renovation process of multi-apartment houses is complicated. The switchover to a market economy after the emergence of private property and rise of energy prices as well as the state's inability to subsidize the DH to a large extent, have highlighted the losses resulting  from the multi-apartment buildings’ poor quality.