Home » “For ordinary people it will be like a yoke.” Reaction of residents of Tajikistan to the upcoming increase in electricity tariffs
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“For ordinary people it will be like a yoke.” Reaction of residents of Tajikistan to the upcoming increase in electricity tariffs

“Businesses will find ways to solve this problem, but for ordinary people it will be like a yoke.” This is how Mukimshoh Makhmadaliev, a resident of the Vose district, expressed his concern about the news of a 16 percent increase in electricity prices.

In accordance with the government decree, from January 1, 2024, the cost of one kilowatt-hour of electricity for the population will be 30.75 dirams. Now residents pay about 27 dirams for every kilowatt. The resolution was adopted at the last government meeting on November 29.

“They are raising pensions and salaries a little, but…”

According to Mukimshoh Makhmadaliev, paying electricity bills will now be more difficult, since residents’ salaries and pensions are growing disproportionately to the rise in electricity prices.

“Look, prices for goods and products have increased. And they tell us, we raised your pensions. It turns out that on the one hand they increased it a little, but on the other, the land tax and the price of electricity increased several times. So, it’s better that they don’t increase our pensions and don’t change electricity prices,” he said in an interview with Radio Ozodi.

Representative of Electric Distribution Networks Orifjon Tolibov linked the increase in electricity prices with the recommendations of the World Bank. “The World Bank has been investing in the country’s energy sector for several years. And one of the bank’s demands is an annual increase in the cost of electricity in Tajikistan,” he said.

Tolibov did not give any other explanation regarding the World Bank’s investments in the country’s energy sector and how important it is to implement the recommendations of the international financial organization. Three years ago, the World Bank allocated a $134 million grant to improve Barki Tojik’s financial situation and said that electricity tariffs in Tajikistan should be increased.

In its report, the World Bank then indicated that “the energy company Barki Tojik will not be financially sustainable in the long term without increasing electricity tariffs,” and therefore tariffs by 2025 should reach such a level as to cover all the holding’s expenses. At the same time, the bank’s report states that “the government of Tajikistan will gradually increase electricity tariffs until 2025: by 2021, the price per kilowatt of electricity should increase by 15%, in the period from 2022 to 2024 – by 8% annually.” .

Abdullo Ashurov, a journalist and economics expert, says Tajikistan has indeed promised to gradually increase electricity prices until 2025.

For TALCO – 18.6 dirams, for the rest – 70.35 dirams

“That is, the bank’s partners demanded that the government of Tajikistan raise electricity prices so that the financial situation of Barki Tojik, and the hydropower sector in general, would stabilize and be financially viable,” explains Ashurov.

According to him, for the energy system of Tajikistan there is a need to increase the cost of electricity, since the costs of producing and supplying electricity to consumers are not covered by current electricity tariffs.

“In addition, Barki Tojik has a debt of hundreds of millions of somoni and the energy holding must pay it off,” Ashurov noted.

In the new price list, which Radio Ozodi has at its disposal, the cost of electricity for organizations and enterprises is not the same for all consumers. Thus, the cost of one kilowatt-hour of electricity for industrial enterprises, with the exception of the Tajik Aluminum Company (TALCO), will be 70.35 dirams.

For TALCO itself, the cost of one kilowatt-hour will be 18.6 dirams. For the Azot enterprise (formerly the Vakhsh nitrogen fertilizer plant), the cost of one kilowatt-hour will be 46.40 dirams, for gymnasiums and lyceums – 52.79 dirams. Previously, criticism had already been expressed regarding such price lists, which implied that by providing benefits to certain companies and enterprises, corruption factors were present in the country’s energy system.

A survey conducted by Radio Ozodi journalists on December 14 on the streets of Dushanbe showed that residents have different attitudes towards increasing electricity prices. One of our interlocutors said: “It will be very difficult for poor people. I receive a pension of 200 somoni, what is this enough for? Every three months I pay only 400 somoni for electricity.”

“So many power plants have been built, but there is no electricity outside the city. Look, they don’t provide electricity, but electricity tariffs are increasing,” says another interlocutor.

In recent years, the Tajik authorities have been annually increasing electricity prices. The last time electricity tariffs were increased was October 1, 2022. Then the cost of one kilowatt-hour rose from 22.66 to 26.51 dirams.

Source : rus.ozodi.org