“Haykakan Zhamanak” continues to question economic justifications for a more than 35 percent rise in electricity prices which are made by the Electricity Networks of Armenia (ENA) utility. The paper says that in its application filed with the Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) last week the ENA management cited various kinds of “incredible” expenditures purportedly warranting the price hike. In particular, the ENA wants to earn extra revenue in order to spend even more on the lease of new offices and cars for its senior executives.
“168 Zham” says that the PSRC will likely approve a higher energy tariff not least because the ENA is owned by a state-run Russian energy giant, the Unified Energy Systems (UES). “In Armenia, both the government and the opposition satisfy any Russian demand,” the paper claims, recalling last year’s near unanimous ratification by the National Assembly of Armenia’s accession treaty with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
“The drastic rise in the price of electricity represents a very big threat to Armenia,” writes “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “But since that threat emanates from our strategic ally, the authorities prefer to keep silent. If they make noise lots of embarrassing things could be exposed. For example, [information about] how that $250-300 million [ENA] debt has been incurred, which portion of it has been pocketed by which official, which shadowy deals have been cut, and so on.”
“Zhoghovurd” reports that the head of Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian’s Oversight Service, Sargis Grigorian, has reported around $100,000 worth of cash assets in his latest official income declaration. The paper says that Grigorian’s wife claims to have spent a virtually identical sum on “some paintings” last year. “Despite that, her income totaled 45 million drams ($94,000) and 100,000 euros ($114,000),” it says. “It is not hard to guess how that much money has been accumulated.”