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Regulator refuses gas price rise request

SLOVENSKÝ Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP), the Slovak gas utility, has had its latest request to raise natural gas prices refused. On August 26, the Regulatory Office for Network Industries (ÚRSO) turned down the utility’s proposal to raise prices for households by 15.9 percent from the start of October, the SITA newswire wrote.

SLOVENSKÝ Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP), the Slovak gas utility, has had its latest request to raise natural gas prices refused. On August 26, the Regulatory Office for Network Industries (ÚRSO) turned down the utility’s proposal to raise prices for households by 15.9 percent from the start of October, the SITA newswire wrote.

SPP based its proposal on a significant increase in the price of crude oil, which directly affects the price of natural gas.

The decision by the ÚRSO, which it explained by saying that the gas utility had not provided sufficient reasons to justify the increase, surprised SPP.

“The company enclosed all the relevant documents with this proposal,” Dana Kršáková, the SPP spokesperson, said. “Moreover, on this occasion the company also submitted a statement by an independent auditor who confirmed the correctness of the SPP calculation.”

According to SPP, the 2008 crude oil price, which at one point hit a record level of almost US$150 per barrel, has on average been much higher than the ÚRSO estimate. The office had based its plan for setting natural gas prices for households during 2008 at an oil price of US$78 per barrel.

“SPP does not understand the ÚRSO’s behaviour, because nobody can overlook the current world growth in energy prices. Putting off an inevitable increase in gas prices will only extend this problem into the future,” said Kršáková. SPP says it is consideringits next steps.

The ÚRSO last changed natural gas prices at the beginning of 2007, when the price for households decreased 4.04 percent on average. Prices were last raised in November 2006, by 4.26 percent.


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