Italy regulator to raise electricity prices by 3.8 pct

Filed on December 30, 2007

ROME - Italy’s energy regulator has approved a price increase of 3.8 percent for electricity and 3.4 percent for gas for the first half of 2008.

The authority said in a statement late on Saturday the price rises were justified by high crude oil and natural gas prices.

‘In the last 12 months, even taking into account the favourable euro/dollar exchange rate, the oil price has risen by 55 percent,’ the regulator said, adding that the price hikes were lower than they would have been if it had not intervened to reduce transmission, distribution and metering charges.

The authority said it had set new tariffs that companies can charge for those services during the 2008-2011 period. In 2008 the new charge structure would be the equivalent of a 1 percent reduction in electricity bills, it said.

Later in 2008, the regulator will issue rules on how poorer households can apply for reduced energy bills, a measure required under a forthcoming government decree.

Energy companies will also face a new regime of penalties and incentives to improve service standards and reduce power cuts, the regulator said.

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