ArmInfo. The decision on revision of gas tariff has exclusively political reasons, member of the Armenian National Congress, economist Vahagn Khachatryan told journalists on November 8.
According to the expert, consumption of electricity has declined by 7% within 9 months of this year. The same relates to supply of gas to Armenia (in 2015 supply of gas to Armenia declined by 100 cu.m, the amounts in 2016 will decline by 60-100 mln cu.m according to the forecasts). The company's statement about the possible increase of consumption as a result of tariff reduction does not hold against criticism.
According to the expert reduction of consumption amounts is the result of migration and decline of population, rather than high tariff on gas. According to him if the Public Services Regulatory Commission and Gazprom had stated about possible revision from January 1, 2016 when there were really objective reasons for such a revision (2.5-fold drop of world prices on fuels and devaluation of Ruble against dollar) one could believe in the company's "benevolent intentions". The expert thinks that today it is too late for such a step, it looks improbable and politically motivated. "The only reason why the process of revision could have been initiated is the upcoming elections", he stated.
The expert told about his concerns. Thus, according to rough calculations Gazprom Armenia will loose 14- 15 bln drams (30-31 mln) as a result of proposed reduction. "Maybe after the elections, in the middle of the next year PSRC of Armenia will state that the company has applied for increasing the tariff as it suffers losses", Khachatryan stated. At this background the expert does not believe in Gazprom's readiness to assume the full risk related to tariff reduction. "Such gifts may have bad results, as it happened in 2014 when Armenia was receiving cheap gas from Russia but later it turned out that it should pay $300 mln", Khachatryan recalled.
In his opinion, the authorities have researched the most sensible issues for the population and decided to gain its favor on the threshold of the elections. To remind, the company previously reported the initiation of the tariff revision process, after the Gazprom-Armenia suggested to decrease basic tariffs for 5,2-6% The subscribers having a right to social allowances and consuming less than 600 cu m of gas per annum will pay 100 thsd AMD per 1 thsd cu m; 2. greenhouse facilities will pay 212 conventional units per 1 thsd cu m from November 1 till March 31; 3. processing enterprises will pay 212 conventional units per 1 thsd cu m; 4. subscribers consuming less than 10 thsd cu m per month will pay 139 thsd AMD per 1 thsd cu m; 5. subscribers consuming more than 10 thsd cu m of gas per month will pay 242.1 conventional units per 1 thsd cu m. For every consequent thousand of cu m they will be charged USD 212. Along with that, there are no bonuses set out for gas filling stations, budget funded entities and TPPs generating electric power for domestic consumption. Yesterday the Head of the PSRC stated that the Russian Gazprom will assume full risk related to reduction of gas tariff.