Fresh Rise in Water Tariffs for Yerevan Consumers

The Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) approved on Tuesday a fresh hike in drinking water tariffs for consumers in Yerevan. Effective July 8th, drinking water will cost 195 drams per cubic meter, up 14 drams (4 cents) from current 181.

Yerevan municipality has allocated 340 million drams (more than $880,000) to the utility company to cover to subsidize rise in tariff for 1 year.

The last time the drinking water price was raised in Armenia was about a year ago when the PSRC approved an increase of the price of water from 172.8 to 181 drams per cubic meter from July 8, 2009. The dynamic makes one wonder, when will the next rise take place!?

In substantiating its request for the tariff rise, the French-run “Yerevan Jur” company had referred to a 20 percent drop in water consumption in Yerevan. It also said falling revenues stemming from the devaluation of the Armenian currency had required additional investment from the company to live up to its commitments, in particular to continue to upgrade the city’s water supply and drainage systems.

Meanwhile, “Yerevan Jur” avoided pointing to a significantly more important reason for the continuous price rises. And that is the following –  67% of water supplied by the company in the capital is written off as losses. To oversimplify things a little bit, if the company properly managed its infrastructure and didn’t let water flow underwater from its broken pipes, as well as fight against dishonest consumers who steal water, we should pay about half of today’s price.

So it turns out, “Yerevan jur”, the utility company which enjoys absolute monopoly in provision of drinking water in Yerevan lays the cost of their mismanagement on Yerevan consumers.

Meanwhile, how do I describe the actions of the municipality which squanders 340 million drams on mitigating the impacts of mismanagement by “Yerevan jur”? Yeah, exactly, squander is the word!