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Electricity tariffs decrease; gas issue remains unclear

By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, December 25
Tariffs on electricity will decrease beginning January, 2013, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Kakha Kaladze said on Monday. The minister said as a result, over 90% of the Georgian population using 0 to 300 kilowatts will pay 3.5 tetri less per kilowatts for the next several years.

Information released on Kaladze’s official Facebook page reads that negotiations between Georgian Ministry and Inter RAO have concluded and a temporary memorandum was signed with Telasi– the electricity distributor in the capital city and Energo-Pro Georgia– the distributor outside the capital.

Tariff of Telasi for 0 to 100 kilowatts per month was 13.48 tetris (per kilowatt of electricity), now it will be reduce to 9.94, while for 101 to 300 kilowatts, the cost was 16.00 tetris and now will be reduced to 12.46. In the case of Energo-Pro, the price for 0 to 100 kilowatts will be reduced from 12.98 to 9.44; and for 101-300 kilowatts – from 16.52 tetris to 12.98.

Tariffs will remain17.70 tetris per kilowatt for Tbilisi residents, and 17.50 for families living in regions using more than 300 kilowatts.

The Ministry of Energy continues working on the issue of the natural gas tariff. However, Kaladze could not specify the figures as of yet.

Kaladze said that the reduction of tariffs will not be on the expense of the employees of the energy companies. “All the expenditures of these companies will be looked through,” he stated.

The reduction of tariffs was among the main issues raised at Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s press conference on Monday. Ivanishvili expressed his gratitude towards Azerbaijan for providing Georgia with natural gas “for a very good price.”

The Georgian PM said this is the result of friendly relations between Georgia and Azerbaijan. However, he said in some aspects, Georgia still will consider “correcting” the price, although not in a “principal” way, hoping that Georgia may manage to negotiate on the “symbolic” decrease after his upcoming visit to Azerbaijan.

The PM said it was not possible to decrease the tariff on natural gas so far because of the “heavy” reasons. However, Ivanishvili promised to discuss this issue and make the process transparent for the Georgian people.

Talking of Kaladze as one of the most successful Ministers of the Georgian Dream government, Ivanishvili welcomed the decrease in electricity tariffs and hoped that this would be an important relief for the people.

Ivanishvili said Kaladze has familiarized himself with the structure of his office and called the Minister of Energy “a good businessman and a clever manager.”

Households in Tbilisi currently pay 50.62 tetri per cubic meter of gas and the tariff varies for 49 to 55 tetri in the provinces.

The Regnum news agency reported based on the statements of the Azerbaijan’s government officials that the price that Georgia pays for natural gas is simply ridiculous, as the government of Azerbaijan is always giving privileges to Georgia based on the interests of strategic importance.

At a special briefing on December 24, Vano Merbishvili, the Secretary General of the United National Movement (UNM), said the new government is attempting to deceive the Georgian population. Merbishvili found the decrease of the electricity tariff by 3.5 tetri ridiculous. “I think people did not have such expectations from the government,” he said.

Merabishvili said the artificial decrease in the tariff would influence the future of Georgia’s energy sector.

However, the Minister of Energy also emphasized that the “formula of discount” does not contradict the long-term development prospects of Georgia’s energy system and would be acceptable to the public and will provide “real advantages” without damaging the providing companies.