by Arthur Yernjakyan
Armenia's accession to the Customs Union may results in growing tariffs for the import of European energy equipment, Head of Development Department of Armenia's Energy and Natural Resources Ministry Hrachik Sokhunyan said at a roundtable discussion on Armenian-Russian cooperation in the framework of the Customs Union.
He said that over half of all high voltage substations in Armenia have been modernized due to loans provided by international organizations and are equipped with European systems. "If we replace them with Russian or Byelorussian analogues, we may face technical problems, if we continue applying European systems, we may face 17% growth in customs duties," Sokhunyan said.
He said that his Ministry, jointly with USAID, is developing a plan of action to develop the country's energy capacities. "As soon as we join the Customs Union, it will see what standards we should apply to make the work of the substations more effective," Sokhunyan said.
He said that Armenia's technical safety requirements are different from the ones applied in the Customs Union. "They apply Soviet-times regulations, while our requirements are very tough," Sokhunyan said.
Armenia's Deputy Energy and Natural Resources Minister Areg Galstyan confirmed to ArmInfo that most of Armenia's high voltage substations are equipped with European systems. "In some five years we are planning to have the best high voltage network in the post-Soviet area. It will consist of mostly European and partly Chinese equipment. I think we will manage to come to terms with our partners under these projects," Galstyan said.