Minister: Russian-owned company’s bid to raise electricity tariffs “grounded”

Minister: Russian-owned company’s bid to raise electricity tariffs “grounded”

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One of the reasons for the rising cost of electricity is mismanagement of the Electric Networks of Armenia (ENA), Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Yervand Zakharyan said on Wednesday, at the same time describing the bid of the Russian owners of the company to raise the tariffs as “grounded”.

Citing the need to end its losses, the ENA last week said it would ask the Public Services Regulatory Commission (PRSC) to allow the increase of the electricity tariff by as much as 40 percent.

If approved, this would be the third increase in the tariff in the last three years.

Addressing the matter at a press conference, Zakharyan said: “I hate to simplify the situation and I am far from doing that. I realize what economic situation has been formed in Armenia and that this [increase in the tariffs] is a serious social problem. But I want to point out that the increase in tariffs does not depend on Armenia. Armenia is not a transit country for either natural gas or oil and it has no energy resources of its own. Do you want to have the same tariffs as in Russia?”

At the same time, Zakharyan voiced confidence that the PSRC will determine how much the tariffs will be raised after considering the substantiation of the ENA’s bid.

During the press conference the minister neither confirmed nor denied media reports about the sale of the ENA.

“The ENA is an independent company and it can conduct negotiations on the sale with different companies,” Zakharyan said, noting that if a decision is made to sell the company, he would be the first to be informed about it.

Earlier, some Armenian media reported that Russia-based Armenian businessman Samvel Karapetyan intended to purchase the ENA.