BUSINESS BRIEFS

Utility price rises on horizon

THE INCOMING cabinet plans to raise regulated prices in 2003 for household natural gas by 30 per cent, for electricity by 17.5 per cent, and for water by as much as 30 per cent, with the schedule of increases to be decided at the end of October.

While inflation in recent months has hit historic lows of 2-3 per cent year-on-year, consumer prices are expected to grow by 6.5-9 per cent next year as the new rises take effect.

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