Sarkisian Says Government will Absorb Electricity Rate Hike; Activists Reject Offer [Updated]
An electricity distribution grid (Photolure)
YEREVAN—President Serzh Sarkisian on Saturday said the Armenian government will absorb the electricity rate hike until a proposed audit is completed, according to the website of the president’s office.
Sarkisian, who met with Republican Party economic and political advisers to specifically discuss the energy sector and issues related to the electricity rate hike, which has prompted thousands of residents to take to the streets in what is now its sixth day, proposed a “meticulous” audit of Armenian Public Services Regulatory Commission after meeting with the visiting Russian transportation minister Maxim Sokolov on Friday to discuss, among other issues, Electric Networks of Armenia (ENA).
Activists protesting against electricity price hike have rejected Sarkisian’s offer.
Member of “No to Plunder” initiative Vaghinak Shushanyan said they do not consider this a victory and will continue the struggle. He added that Baghramyan Avenue will remain closed, since the Armenian authorities did not meet any of their demands.
“As I have said, I am convinced that the reversal of the rate hike is extremely dangerous. However, until the evaluations [audit] are concluded, the government will shoulder the entire weight of the electricity rate hike,” Sarkisian said at the meeting with advisers Saturday.
He explained that the absorption of the rate hike will not impact ongoing projects and social programs, explaining that the government will find other means to undertake this effort.
Sarkisian did warn, however, that if the audit concludes that a rate hike is, indeed, necessary then every Armenian citizen must adhere to that conclusion.
After the announcement of the audit, organizers of the “No to Plunder” movement, which leading the protests on Baghramyan Avenue for the sixth consecutive day, said the an audit does not fulfill their demands of completely eliminating the electricity rate hike.
This story will be updated