Deputy Energy Minister Deems Energy Crisis Over

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"The energy crisis has been entirely overcome in Armenia. Local energy needs are almost fully satisfied–and energy is being exported to neighboring countries," the first deputy minister of energy–Karen Galoustian said Wednesday at the seminar organized with the assistance of the Black Sea Regional Energy Center.

He said that the realization of the Armenian Ministry of Energy’s policy ensured Armenia’s participation as a reliable and equal partner in such authoritative international organizations as the Energy Charter–Black Sea Economic Cooperation–CIS Energy Council.

Galoustian pointed out that special importance is currently being attached to raising the sphere’s functioning efficiency by establishing international joint ventures. The establishment of the "ArmRosgazprom" joint-stock company–the work on exploring fuel resources carried out by the Armenian-American Geological Prospecting company are examples of international business cooperation–he said.

Galoustian said that the process of privatizing the energy sector is also considered to be important. Eleven small hydro power plants have been privatized to this day. He pointed out the need for the transparency of the privatization process as well as making effective steps in encouraging investmen’s in the energy sphere.

As for energy metering–billing and collection of energy paymen’s–Galoustian pointed out that in 1995 the collection of paymen’s made up only 19 percent of the projected sum and 55 percent in 1998.

However–he said that the theft of energy is still a big problem. He said that losses in the energy network make up 18.1 percent–their major source being the "human factor." An anti-theft mechanism is currently being discussed–Galoustian said.

Galoustian said that the development of the energy sector is being implemented in accordance with the "Program of the Development of the Energy Sphere of Armenia–2010" developed by Armenian specialists with the participation of World Bank experts–USAID technical assistance programs–and TACIS among other programs.

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