TBILISI, DFWatch–At the end of a difficult year with families struggling to get through a pandemic, Georgia’s largest electricity provider announced a price hike that risks causing major discontent.

On Monday, the CEO of Energo-Pro Georgia, which in 2016 controlled 62% of the country’s energy distribution, said an increase in electricity tariffs was inevitable.

“The existing tariff, for objective reasons, doesn’t reimburse dramatically the increased costs for electricity purchases or other costs. We have been in a severe financial crisis for 10 months now, we have had to abandon all development plans, significantly reduce investment projects, it has even become difficult to finance the salary fund, ” the company’s CEO Mikheil Botsvadze said.

Prices for households currently range between GEL 0.14 amd GEL 0.23 per kilowatt hour. The electricity distribution company said a “significant” increase in prices is expected, but did not offer any specific figures.

The Georgian National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission, which regulates electricity tariffs, says it will discuss tariff increases on Tuesday and make an “objective and balanced” decision.

“In any case, our decision will be objective and the parameters that will be approved will be focused on quality and safe energy supply,” said commission chairman David Narmania.

Electricity tariffs are a serious issue for a large part of the population of Georgia, which has already been severely affected by the economic problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Especially considering that the hike in electricity prices will inevitably be followed by an increase in the prices of other consumer products.