A French-run company managing Yerevan’s water distribution network announced on Friday its intention to cut the price of drinking water supplied to households by more than 10 percent.
The Yerevan Jur company’s existing tariff, set by Armenia’s Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) last year, stands at 195 drams (52 U.S. cents) per cubic meter. A subsidy paid to the company by the Yerevan municipality means that city residents have to pay 181 drams per cubic meter.
Gagik Markarian, Yerevan Jur’s commercial director, said it has now asked the PSRC to let it lower the price to 175 drams. “For consumers the price will go down by 6 drams, for the company by 20 drams,” he told a news conference.
Markarian said that the price cut, if it is approved by the regulatory body, will come into effect this July.
Asked about the reasons for the unexpected decision, Markarian argued that gradual tariff reductions are envisaged by a 10-management agreement that was signed in 2006 by the Armenian government and France’s Veolia Eau utility group, which controls Yerevan Jur.
Under that agreement, Veolia should also ensure 24-hour water supplies to the vast majority of local households. According to the company, the average Yerevan family currently has running water for over 21 hours a day, up from 17 hours reported in 2007.
The French operator has been using large-scale loans from the World Bank and the French government to upgrade the Armenian capital’s obsolete water distribution and sewerage network. Most of its drinking water still leaks out of eroding Soviet-era pipes before reaching consumers.