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Turkish Parliament spent $520K on electricity in first 2 months of 2022 as ‘commercial user’

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Considered a commercial user, the Turkish Parliament was billed TL 7.6 million ($520,407) for electricity usage in the first two months of 2022, the Sözcü daily reported on Friday, citing the response to a parliamentary question from an opposition lawmaker.

The response to a parliamentary question regarding parliament’s energy costs for the past five years, posed by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Ali Haydar Hakverdi, revealed that it had paid a monthly average of TL 3.8 million ($260,203) for energy consumption in the first two months of 2022, a 260 percent increase compared to 2021 due to hikes in prices earlier this year.

The response further showed that parliament had been considered to be a business, the group subjected to the highest increase among electricity users in Turkey, and charged accordingly.

Hakverdi said the parliament’s monthly energy costs increased by 260 percent since last year and that it’s expected to have paid over TL 45 million ($3 million) for energy consumption by the end of 2022.

“The average monthly bill paid in 2021 was 1,471,480 lira ($99,776), while the average for the first two months of this year was 3,837,405 lira ($260,203). The amount paid [for energy] in the first two months of the year is even higher than what was paid in a year in 2017,” the lawmaker added.

Hakverdi also criticized parliament being billed as a business, saying: “The parliament, a public institution whose budget is [paid for by] the citizens, isn’t a commercial institution. It is unacceptable that its electricity consumption is billed as a business and that workers’ money is paid to electricity companies at high prices.”

Turks started 2022 with news of jacked-up prices, fueled by a currency crisis amid the highest rate of inflation in nearly two decades.

Turkey’s Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK) announced on Jan. 1 that it had raised electricity prices by 52 percent for lower-use households for the new year and 127 percent for high-use commercial users.

Turks had demanded that the government roll back the price hikes in demonstrations held across the country, with many protestors saying there had been a two- to threefold increase in the electricity bills they received in the first month of 2022 and some merchants saying they had to pay electricity bills surpassing their monthly rent.

In early March the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government reduced the sales tax on electricity used in residences and agricultural irrigation from 18 percent to 8 percent, which has failed to introduce any relief to consumers’ budgets, according to a recent survey.

The results of an opinion poll conducted by the Ankara-based MetroPoll recently showed that an overwhelming majority of Turks said they have perceived no significant change in food or energy prices after the value added tax (VAT) cuts enacted by the ruling AKP, with only 12.3 percent saying they have provided relief.

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