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Turkmenistan to make people pay for gas
Turkmen president announces an end to unlimited free gas supply for citizens
Associated Press
2014-01-18 10:42 PM

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) -- The president of Turkmenistan says his government will begin installing gas meters in households, ending the unlimited supply of free gas to citizens in this energy-rich Central Asian nation.

President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov said during a televised address on Saturday that the government hoped the meters would encourage people to consume energy in a more "economical" way.

The nation is estimated to have the world's fourth-largest natural gas reserves, and gas, electricity and water have been supplied free to households since 1993.

When Berdymukhamedov became president in 2006, he pledged to extend that policy until 2030.

He has ruled with an iron fist, allowing no dissent or independent media in the predominantly Muslim nation of five million.

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