NEW ENERGY PLANTS IN THE PIPELINE

Gas price rises will equalise V4

GAS prices will start taking a bigger bite out of consumers' wallets in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland as of April.

GAS prices will start taking a bigger bite out of consumers' wallets in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland as of April.

The Slovak gas utility SPP has not announced plans to follow suit. The increases are bringing prices in the rest of the region up to the level already being paid in Slovakia, the Pravda daily wrote.

The price of gas for households was unchanged in Slovakia in January 2008, but rose by seven percent in the Czech Republic. The increase in April will add another seven percent to the price. The Czech gas provider adjusts prices quarterly, while the Slovak provider does so yearly.

The April increase will mean a jump of 13.5 percent in Hungary. And Poland's consumers could soon start paying the most, as their local supplier, PGNiG, is raising prices by 30 percent.

The Slovak regulatory office set this year's gas rates according to expected oil prices of about $77 per barrel, but crude oil has been trading at $97 recently. So far, the strengthening Slovak crown has blunted the effects of rising oil prices, but the Slovak gas provider plans to take it into consideration starting January 2009.

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