Americans to sell Georgian energy company to UES of Russia

American company AES is intending to sell UES of Russia a stake in the energy distributing company of Tbilisi. According to Valery Pantsulaya, an official spokesman for the Georgian energy company AES TELASI, AES owns 75% of AES TELASI shares; 25% are owned by the city administration. If the deal goes ahead UES of Russia will buy up all the US company's shares. It is not clear how much the deal is worth.

The Americans have had many problems since they began working in Georgia five years ago with the people and the authorities. AES has raised energy prices four times and there are plans to do it again soon. The cost of one kilowatt-hour of electricity in Tbilisi currently costs USD 0.06 whereas in other Georgian towns and areas it costs less than USD 0.04. Moreover the energy crisis in Tbilisi, as elsewhere in Georgia, is continuing. The Georgian population protest regularly; political parties have filed successful complaints against the company; occasionally the Ministry of Finance and the tax office have frozen AES-TELASI accounts.

As a Rosbalt correspondent was informed by the Georgian Fuel and Energy Ministry, the cost of electricity in Tbilisi is higher than anywhere else in the former Soviet Union. Nonetheless, influential political parties are trying to prevent UES of Russia from entering Georgia. They see the deal as a serious political threat and energy dependency on Russia. There is a similar situation with Gazprom, which is preparing to sign a long-term contract with Georgia.

Earlier the US had insisted it was against Russian energy capital entering Georgia.

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