DUSHANBE, January 26, 2012, Asia-Plus  -- Current electricity prices do not allow us to cover our expenses, Abdullo Yorov, the head of Barqi Tojik power holding (the state-owned utility responsible for generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in Tajikistan), told reporters in Dushanbe on January 25.

“Raising electricity rates is a very complex issue and we must take into account many factors,” Yorov said, noting that the issue is currently under consideration by the government.

The Barqi Tojik top manager noted that the electricity prices have not been raised over the past two years.  “We offered the government in late 2010 to raise electricity rates by 20 percent beginning on January 1, 2011, but the government decided not to raise electricity prices,” Yorov noted.

We will recall that electricity prices were raised for the last time in early 2009.

Current prices of one kWh of electricity are 9 dirams (equivalent to 2.06 cents) for residential customers, 21.3 dirams (4.87 cents) for industrial enterprises, 8.5 dirams (1.95 cents) for federally funded institutions and public utilities, and 0.57 dirams (0.13 cents) for pump stations and electrical transportation.  Tajik Aluminum Company (TALCO) pays 8.2 dirams (equivalent to 1.86 cents) for usage of one kWh of electricity.

“If we fail to raise rates gradually, we will not be able to repay our debts,” Yorov said yesterday, noting that Tajikistan now has the lowest electricity prices within the CIS area.

Barqi Tojik’s debts now amount to 603 million somoni.  Major part of Barqi Tojik’s debt is the debt to open joint-stock company (OJSC) Sangtudinskaya GES-1, which operates the Sangtuda-1 hydroelectric power plant (HPP) in Tajikistan.  Barqi Tojik now owes 203 million somoni to Sangtudinskaya GES-1.