Nikolay Shulginov, Russia’s minister of energy, told the TASS agency on Wednesday that cryptocurrency miners should pay more than households for electricity in order to maintain the reliability of the electricity grid.
The Ministry of Energy is working on solutions, he said, though it’s unclear if any particular bills or directives will be implemented soon.
The remark comes soon after the head of Irkutsk, a region in Siberia popular with crypto miners, complained miners are running their operations in residential buildings and consuming large amounts of power at retail prices.
Irkutsk Governor Igor Kobzev wrote to vice prime minister Alexander Novak earlier this week, saying electricity consumption in the region has grown by 159% since last year. He blamed illegal mining and the influx of miners from China following that country’s regulatory crackdown on crypto.
Roman Zabuga, a spokesman for BitRiver, a major mining farm in the region, said crypto mining has flourished, alongside the growing bitcoin price. He said that growth is coming from locals expanding existing mining operations or starting new ones.
“These miners are, in fact, using electricity for households, on the price that is subsidized by the regional government, for business purposes,” he said, adding that special tariffs for miners might be introduced in the future.