15 Sep 2009 18:33

Growth in electricity tariffs shouldn

MOSCOW. Sept 15 (Interfax) - Electricity tariffs for Russian industrial consumers will be raised by more than 5% in 2010, but not by a level that could prevent the country's economy from emerging from the crisis, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko told journalists on Tuesday.

"We clearly understand the impermissibility of raising tariffs too much so that the economy can emerge from the crisis smoothly," he said at a briefing following a government meeting.

This issue was discussed at the meeting, he said, although no final decisions were made. "Taking into account all factors, I think [the increase in tariffs] will be more than 5%," he said, noting that he expects a final decision to be made in the coming days.

"A decision was made to additionally include the arguments of generating companies as well as the government's economic section so that a final decision is made on the tariff hike. I think a final decision will be made [on energy tariffs in 2010] in the next day or two," he said.

A source from the government's financial and economics section told Interfax on Monday that the regulated electricity tariff for industrial consumers in Russia could rise 6%-8% instead of the planned 5% in 2010.

Overall, regulated tariffs and market prices could average up 15%-16% for all consumers in 2010.

It was reported earlier that a 5% hike in electricity rates for industry was approved for 2010 (compared with 19% for 2009) and a 10% increase for household consumers (25%). Regulated tariffs and prices on the free market in 2010 are forecast to increase 11.5%-13% in 2010.