Gov't official comments on growth in gas and electricity rates

The Russian Economy Ministry recommends the government not to change the earlier established levels for increases in rates for services of natural monopolies in 2003, Deputy Economy Minister Andrey Sharonov told journalists today. According to him, the ministry has already submitted the final report on the analysis of the financial and economic situation of natural monopolies and proposals on tariffs for 2003 to the government. These questions are to be considered at a government meeting on December 11, 2002.

The deputy minister admitted that natural monopolies, the Federal Energy Commission and the Energy Ministry wanted to increase these levels. According to the Economy Ministry's proposal, in 2003 the maximum advance in gas rates is to be 20 percent, in electricity 14 percent and in railroad transportation 12 percent.

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