A French-run company managing Yerevan’s water distribution network said on Thursday that it has asked state regulators to allow it to raise the price of drinking water in the Armenian capital by almost 14 percent.
Gagik Markarian, the commercial director of the Yerevan Jur company, attributed the move to consumer price inflation, the depreciation of the Armenian dram and the increased volume of water consumption by the population. He said it has nothing to do with the latest surge in the retail prices of natural gas sanctioned by the Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC).
The PSRC made clear last week that the price of electricity will not rise at least until August despite the fact that Russian gas is used for meeting roughly one-third of Armenia’s energy needs. The electricity tariff is a key factor determining the cost of water supplied to households.
The water price already rose by 4 percent in April last year. Markarian told journalists that Yerevan Jur, which is managed by the French utility giant Veolia Eau, formally asked the PSRC on February 26 to raise it from 181 drams to 206 drams (55 U.S. cents) from July 1. He said the state regulatory body will likely rule on the request in May.
Veolia took over long-term management of the Yerevan network in 2006, pledging to ensure 24-hour water supplies to the vast majority of local households. The operator has been using large-scale loans from the World Bank and the French government to upgrade the obsolete network. Much of its drinking water still leaks out of eroding Soviet-era pipes before reaching consumers.