Russia reports on electricity industry reform

Jul 09, 2004 02:00 AM

Reform in the electricity industry is proceeding according to plan, although ways to form wholesale generating companies are to be identified, Energy and Industries Minister Viktor Khristenko said. The minister said that under effective laws, the ministry shall put together reports on electricity industry reform every six months and that the next such report was due in December this year
The fact that no final decision has yet been made as to how wholesale generating companies should be built will not disrupt the reform, Mr Khristenko assured. According to him, Russia's first generating company will have been set up before the end of this year.

In all, ten companies are to be established. The Cabinet has instructed the ministry to examine the possibility of uniting all hydro-electric power stations into one wholesale generating company.
As he passed on to the issue of Russian oil exports, Mr Khristenko said that oil export schedules are drawn up for the quarter, the month, and the day ahead. There are no grounds to worry that the export may be disrupted, with crude and refined products now being supplied according to schedule, he assured.

Earlier, the embattled oil giant Yukos said it may suspend the export of oil owing to the Arbitration Court's ruling that it pay the nearly $ 7 bn back tax bill for the years 2000 and 2001. The minister also said that this next fall the Cabinet would consider ways to raise the efficiency of the natural gas market.
High on the agenda of the Cabinet's sessions this autumn will be the gas market's performance and the possibility of enhancing its efficiency, Mr Khristenko said. According to him, the current state, potentialities and prospects of the gas sector will be under discussion.

The State Duma, or parliament's lower house, will be considering bills on affordable housing in their second reading, Mr Khristenko announced. He said that the MPs had revised the drafts in accordance with recommendations from the Cabinet. Tomorrow, they will vote on eighteen of the 27 bills on the package, primarily ones that "will have budget implications."
The minister said he was satisfied with the way the Cabinet and the Duma were working together. He expressed hope that the housing bills would have no problem getting through the house tomorrow, noting that the revision had made the drafts more precise and clear.

Visitors from among the general public come to Mr Khristenko's office to discuss issues ranging from utilities services to science, he said. Some of the visitors bring in designs of innovative building materials, proposals on how to save companies from bankruptcy, and developments on alternative sources of energy.
Not only do the public make proposals on the use of unconventional and renewable energy sources (including the new efficient mechanism for using wind power), but they also present new perspectives on the nature of energy per se, the minister said. He assured that all the proposals submitted would be considered by experts from the ministry and, possibly, from the Academy of Sciences, as well.

Source: Russian Information Agency Novosti
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