RAO UES of Russia's reform to be put off

Yesterday Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Anatoly Chubais, RAOUES of Russia's CEO, in his Novo-Ogaryovo residence located in the Moscowoutskirts (the very place where the Soviet Union's demise was onceschemed). As the Kremlin press service reported, at this meeting "thepreparation for a winter season" was discussed. However, according tounofficial data, the winter season was just a pretence. Central was theissue of the postponement of RAO UES of Russia's "funeral" not to let itcoincide with the presidential elections. It was too late for Putin andChubais to discuss the progress of the preparation for the upcoming winterseason in the President's residence. If the Northern electric power plantsdo not have black oil now, they do not have enough time to deliver itbefore winter anyway. Moreover, all this winter chatter was over and donewith in late August in Vladivostok and Mezhdurechinsk. Additionally, as thegovernment reported to the Russian President, all power stations have morefuel than they did last year, so the winter talk was only for the record. Putin had a more serious reason for meeting with the RAO UES' CEO - theterms of the reform of the electric energy sector. The reform is in danger,and one of the risk factors is legislative: the already started stage ofthe reform has broken loose from law. The Russian State Duma lacksunanimity on the government's package of bills on the energy sector. Sincethe government drew criticism for a number of articles of its version ofthe reform, it had to agree on putting off the first reading of the billand set up a conciliatory commission. After this summer, the government andRAO UES had to come to terms with the Duma, the Kommersant newspaperreported. .


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