Refugees in Azerbaijan outraged over forceful installation of electric power meters
A conflict between a group of IDPs and refugees from Karabakh and the state-run ‘Azerishyq’ company officials, occurred on February 1, due to the population’s discontent over forceful installation of electric power meters.
There were reports on social media that the protests overgrew into the scuffle in some instances, but the ‘Azerishyq’ (AzerLight) power company press service denied the aforesaid reports.
Additional police forces were dispatched to the IDP settlement to subdue the protest rally.
The rally was held in Qizilqum and Pirshagi settlements, some 20 kilometers north of Baku. The internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Nagorno-Karabakh and the occupied areas around it have been living in former sanatoriums here since the 90s.
“Up to now, there has been no heating in our settlement for days, there have always been power supply problems. Electricity is the only source of heating for us. And the electricians have come here today, in this chilly weather, and they are going to cut off electricity for a couple of days, until all electric power meters are installed. Can AZN 36 (approximately EUR18-edit.), that has been allocated to us, compensate our expenses? This amount is hardly enough to cover 10-day costs,” Azadlyq Radio quoted one of the residents as saying.
Azerishyq’ company press service denied reports about a scuffle between the company employees and the IDPs. “The reports that hundreds of company employees were allegedly installing power meters are also false. Dissemination of such information by various Internet-resources aims to mislead the public,” Azerishyq’ company’s press release reads.
The process of installation of electric power meters was launched in accordance with the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s decree, dated January 23, 2017. 5,700 power meters were installed within the past few days alone,” Azerishyq’ company reported.
Earlier, IDPs and refugees were exempt from payment of public utility service bills within the set limits.