Russian Owned Electric Firm Fined By Armenia’s Public Services Regulatory Commission
YEREVAN (A.W.)—The Russian owned firm Electric Networks of Armenia (ENA) was fined 60 million drams ($126,000 USD) for violating consumer rights. Armenia’s Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) passed the ruling, which stemmed from ENA making demands for advanced payments earlier in 2015 from residents of newly built houses and apartment buildings needing access to electricity, According to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
The ruling against the Russian firm comes after weeks of street protests in Yerevan and across Armenia against a 17 percent electricity tariff hike. On June 17, PSRC unanimously voted to raise energy prices in the country. Thousands of people gathered in Yerevan’s Liberty Square on the evening of June 19 to protest the government’s adoption of a 17-percent rise in electricity rates.
What was initially slated as a march in the city center against the price hike turned into an unexpected mass sit-in occupation known as the “No to Plunder,” and later the “Electric Yerevan” movement. After a lengthy occupation of Yerevan’s Baghramyan Avenue, police moved in on protesters still remaining on Baghramyan Avenue on July 6, unblocking the road and arresting more than 40 activists in the process.
On June 27, President Serge Sarkisian announced that his government will subsidize the energy tariffs so that citizens do not pay more right away and announced an international audit of the ENA aimed at determining whether the company’s massive losses are the result of corruption.
Sarkisian has also since hinted that the government could nationalize the ENA or help its Russian parent company, Inter RAO, sell it to another firm, though Inter RAO has denied Russian press reports that it is holding talks with potential buyers, reports Azatutyun.am.
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