Power-ful Message: Armenian activists call for “romantic time under candlelight” to protest planned electricity price hike

Power-ful Message: Armenian activists call for “romantic time under candlelight” to protest planned electricity price hike


Activists in Armenia have called for a two-hour “blackout” tonight in protest against plans to raise electricity tariffs.

A Facebook group advocating the one-off campaign urges residents who are against the unpopular measure to switch off the lights and all power-driven appliances in their homes across the country and spend two hours “in a romantic atmosphere under candlelight”.

They say this way the public will send a powerful message to the Electricity Networks of Armenia which has submitted a bid for another increase in the tariffs recently.

Earlier this month the Russian-owned company asked the Public Services Regulatory Commission to consider a 40-percent rise in energy tariffs. If approved, it will become the third rise in electricity prices in Armenia in the last three years.

In asking for higher tariffs, the electricity distributing company cited the need to end losses. Armenia’s main opposition groups and civil activists, meanwhile, believe the company has to improve management and deal with theft to stay profitable under the current prices that they say are already high. Besides, economists say the measure will also make the national economy less competitive as it will increase the cost of production.

The “Dark Hours” action planned at 9-11 pm May 25 is also intended as a support initiative for a public rally scheduled in Yerevan’s Liberty Square for May 27 that will also deal with the issue of the planned rise in electricity tariffs.