KHOROG, January 16, 2012, Asia-Plus  -- The Pamir Energy Company is currently seeking solution to the problem of paying electricity subsidies to residential customers, the PamirEnergy Director General Daler Jumayev told reporters in Khorog on January 13.

According to him, 5 million U.S. dollars provided by the Government of Switzerland for payment of subsidies to residential customers ran out at the end of last year.

Under the concession agreement between the Government of Tajikistan and PamirEnergy and the agreement on payment of social care expenses, the Government must promote the provision of subsidies to the population of Gorno Badakhshan,” noted he, “However, necessary funds to pay subsidies to the population have not been remitted by mid-January.”

Jumayev noted that the company now has two ways of payment of the social care expenses – “due to difference in interest rate on the loan provided to the company by the World Bank through the Government of Tajikistan at the initial stage or through external financing.”

“By convention PamirEnergy is to receive a US$3.7 million grant from the Government of Switzerland,” said Jumayev.  “These funds could allow not only paying subsidies to the residential customers in 2012-2014 but also purchasing 15,000 electricity meters to complete the electronic electricity meters installation program.  But the governments of Tajikistan and Switzerland have not yet managed to reach an agreement on conditions for providing this assistance.”

The PamirEnergy top manager stressed that the company today needs external assistance because its current financial opportunities do not allow covering the social care expenses “due to the difference in the interest rate on the World Bank loan.”

“The US$5 million grant awarded by the Government of Switzerland for the preferential use subsidies has gone to paying the so-called socially necessary volumes of power consumption electricity,” Jumayev noted.

The company subsidized on average 1,350 kWh of electricity to each of its residential customers annually: 200 kWh of power per month in the winter period (five months) and 50 kWh of power per month in the summer period (seven months).

PamirEnergy is a joint project of the Government of Tajikistan, the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), the World Bank’s private finance division, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).  A total cost of the project is some 26.5 million U.S. dollars, including the Tajik government’s contribution of 10 million U.S. dollars.

The company has a 25 year concession on the assets formerly under the management on Barqi Tojik (Tajik electricity supplier) in Gorno Badakhshan.  In exchange for this concession (management right), PamirEnergy has invested in completing the Pamir hydropower station, rehabilitating power generation, transmission and distribution assets, and improving the management of the company.

The company now operates eleven hydropower plants in the region.  In the winter time, a total capacity of these plants is some 43 megawatts.