YEREVAN, June 11. / ARKA /. Mikael Melkonyan, an MP from the Prosperous Armenia Party, has called on the government today to carefully examine the performance of energy generating and distributing facilities of the country.
Speaking at parliament he recalled last year’s surge in electricity price by 27 percent saying another 10 percent rise sought by the power generating and distributing companies, which is very likely to be approved by the regulator, would result in a 40% rise in one year.
The price of electricity surged by almost 27 percent in 2013 July following a rise in the cost of Russian natural gas supplied to Armenia, which is used also for generating around one-third of the country’s electricity. Gazprom Armenia said earlier it was not going to raise the price of gas for Armenia over the next few years.
Melkonyan said last year the Armenian nuclear power plant was halted for a regular repair which took more time than usual. Also due to low precipitation production of electricity by hydropower plants decreased by 500 million kWh. Annually Armenia produces about 7 billion kWh of electricity.
According to Melkonyan, the government is to start repayment of a Japanese loan this year it had attracted for the modernization of the Yerevan thermal power plant and besides the government is seeking a $300 million loan form Russia to extend the service life of the nuclear power plant.
"It appears that large energy companies operate with zero profit, which is practically impossible, and this is why the government must conduct a thorough examination of their activities and find out the reasons," he said.
He also said it was strange that the Electrical Networks of Armenia, which is a monopolist in the market, has appeared on the verge of bankruptcy.
The electricity price is currently 38 drams (9 U.S. cents) per kilowatt/hour. The Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) wants to raise it to 42 drams. -0-