YEREVAN, July 3. / ARKA /. The Armenian government has decided today to increase the size of benefits given to vulnerable families by one thousand drams (less than $2.5) to mitigate the impact of rising electricity prices for households by about 10 percent, the second hike in 12 months.
Speaking at a government session labor and social affairs minister Artem Asatryan said the measure, designed at the order of Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan, will apply to 105,000 poor families across the country. The rise was requested by President Serzh Sargsyan soon after the Public Services Regulatory Commission on Tuesday authorized the increase in the tariffs.
The minister cited Public Services Regulatory Commission’s data that an average Armenian family consumes about 200 kW/h of electricity per month (325 kW/h in wintertime and 180 kW/h in summertime). He said this means that as a result of the rise an average family will be paying about 800 drams (or some $2) more than at present.
The minister said the rise of poverty allowance by one thousand drams will make the average monthly poverty allowance 30,350 drams. Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan concluded: “In fact, the government is taking care of the increased financial burden of these 105,000 families.”
On July 1 Armenia’s Public Service Regulatory Commission unanimously approved a 10 percent rate hike in residential electricity bills effective August 1, despite protests that often turned violent in weeks leading up to the decision.
The Tuesday’s decision will allow the Electrical Networks of Armenia to charge 41.85 drams per 1 kWh of electricity during daylight hours (from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.), up from the current 38 drams, and 31.5 drams for night hours (from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.), up from the current 28 drams. ($1 – AMD 407.90).–0—