Gov't Determines Maximum Increase For Tariffs Of Natural Monopolies In 2002

The government of the Russian Federation made a decision today that tariffs of natural monopolies should not be increased by more than 35% in 2002, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref declared at a press conference after a government session. According to him, natural monopolies wanted this number to be higher, i.e. the Railroad Ministry wanted tariffs to be increased by 66%, RAO Unified Energy System of Russia - by 44% and Gazprom - by 37%. A decision on the upper limit of railroad tariffs was made "without taking into consideration the unification of internal and export railroad transportation," which will come into force in the first quarter of 2002. According to Gref, the government analyzed four versions of an increase in tariffs: the one budgeted for 2002, submitted by natural monopolies, a maximum possible tariff increase and an average between the suggested versions and the maximum possible increase. In the opinion of the Minister the increase in tariffs should not exceed 35%, and this idea was supported by the government today.