YEREVAN — Armenia’s gas distributing company Gazprom-Armenia (subsidiary of Russian Gazprom) has asked the local regulators to lower tariffs for consumers as well as approve new ones for certain groups of citizens and corporate bodies after an apparent request from the country’s authorities.

When holding his first government session on September 15 prime minister Karen Karapetian, a former Gazprom executive, asked the ministries of energy and labor as well as state utility regulators to explore the possibility of reducing the prices of electricity and natural gas for low-income Armenians as well as some businesses.

Gazprom, which provides the bulk of Armenia’s natural gas, already lowered its price by 9 percent, to $150 per thousand cubic meters, as recently as in April, which resulted in a 6-percent reduction of the retail price for households and small businesses in the country from July 1.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Gazprom Armenia said that in its application to the Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) it seeks the approval of lower prices for both individual consumers using less than 10,000 cubic meters of natural gas a month as well as corporate consumers using higher amounts.

The decrease sought by the company for households is expected to make over 5 percent – from current 146.4 to 139 drams per cubic meter.

Corporate users, meanwhile, are offered to pay an equivalent of $242.1 per thousand cubic meters instead of current $257.

Besides, the company offers some differentiation in its tariffs. Thus, for consumers that are entitled to family or social benefits Gazprom Armenia offers a 100-dram-per-cubic-meter tariff for 600 cubic meters consumed during a year.

For farmers keeping greenhouses from November 1 to March 31 the company offers a tariff of an equivalent of $212 per thousand cubic meters and for processing companies it offers the same tariff all year round.

Payments, according to Gazprom Armenia, will be accepted in drams in accordance with the average price of the U.S. dollar formed on the Armenian currency market following the publication by the Central Bank of Armenia of the exchange rate for the 25th day of the preceding month.

A PSRC official told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) later today that if approved, the new tariffs are likely to become effective from January 1, 2017.

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