Power Firms to Switch Pricing System

St. Petersburg-based Lenenergo, along with power firms in seven regions, will switch to a new pricing system next year that should give them steady profits, an industry adviser said Wednesday.

The government has been wary of implementing the so-called Regulated Asset Base pricing, as it will raise electricity tariffs and could drive rampant inflation still higher. But power distribution firms depend on it to get a fair rate of return on their investments and have been lobbying hard for the change.

"We have verbal agreements to transfer these regions to RAB as of January 1, 2009," said Pavel Shpilevoi, a top adviser to the head of the Federal Grid Company, the state-controlled giant that operates the country's trunk power grids.

He said the transfer to RAB would apply to regional grid firms in St. Petersburg and the regions of Leningrad, Rostov, Chelyabinsk, Omsk, Kuzbass, Lipetsk, Tula and Sverdlovsk.