Source Pravda.Ru

Deputy economy minister comments on energy sector problems

The volume of RAO UES's investment program for 2003 will amount to between 20bn and 45bn rubles (about $637m-1.43bn) compared to 20bn rubles ($637m) in 2002, Andrey Sharonov, deputy economy minister, told journalists today.

Moreover, he stressed that a 2.4 percent indexation of energy tariffs in the second half of 2002 would not solve the current problems of the energy sector. These are, in particular, problems with debt amortization and an increased water tax for hydroelectric power stations. According to Sharonov, some nine out of eleven stations have become unprofitable due to the increase in the water tax. The deputy minister also declared that there was a misbalance of the federal and regional wholesale energy markets, as energy tariffs were not regulated synchronically on these markets. The official added that the government had already ordered the Federal Energy Commission to elaborate on the mechanism that would eliminate this misbalance.

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