TBILISI, June 10 (Reuters) - Russian energy firm InterRAO has begun arbitration proceedings in Stockholm against Georgia over electricity tariffs, Georgia’s deputy energy minister said.
“We have now received a notification from the arbitration court and (are) ready to defend our position there,” Mariam Valishvili told Reuters.
InterRAO confirmed that it had started judicial proceedings.
“InterRAO Group confirms that its two Dutch subsidiaries have filed two lawsuits against the Georgian government with the International Court of Arbitration,” the company’s press department said.
InterRAO wants to raise its electricity tariffs as well as seek compensation for losses stemming from Georgia’s currency devaluation, Valishvili said.
InterRAO did not specify how much it was seeking in compensation but a source close to the company told Reuters that it was $125 million as of May 1.
The company bought two hydro-power plants in Georgia in 2011. The Khrami-1 and Khrami-2- plants have a capacity of 227 megawatts.
InterRAO also owns a 75.11 percent stake in electricity distribution company Telasi, which serves the capital Tbilisi.
It holds its assets in Georgia through its Dutch subsidiaries.
Valishvili said that the government had offered to go to Georgia’s state regulatory commission to find a solution over InterRAO’s tariffs for electricity from its two plants.
“Correction of these tariffs may be done, if the commission makes such a decision,” Valishvili said.
She said that a lawsuit on Telasi was more complicated.
“InterRAO did not make any investment in Telasi and even got bigger dividends than expected. Why should we pay compensation?” she said. “Our position is strong and I‘m confident that we can prove it in court.” (Additional reporting by Anastasia Lyrchikova in MOSCOW; Editing by Katya Golubkova)