Kasyanov Expected To Approve Lower Tariffs Than Proposed By Natural Monopolies

Russia will enter the year 2002 with new tariffs for products and services of natural monopolies. However, these tariffs will be much lower than proposed by RAO UES (Unified Energy Systems) of Russia, Gazprom and the Railroad Ministry. The government will consider a rise in tariffs at a meeting today and it is expected to approve lower tariffs than those suggested by natural monopolies. Analysts forecasted the 2002 budget will not suffer from this decision on lower tariffs. As reported earlier, the 2002 budget draft provides for a 28 per cent rise in tariffs for electricity, a 20 per cent rise in gas tariffs and a 15 or 18 per cent rise in tariffs for railroad transportation while the inflation rate is expected to reach 13 per cent. Meanwhile, a rise in tariffs proposed by RAO UES of Russia, Gazprom and the Railroad Ministry could lead to an inflation rate of 19 or 21 per cent, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported.