Electric power reform produced market players - minister

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MOSCOW, July 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's reform in the electric power sector has reached a turning point and produced market players that will be opened for investment within a year, the energy minister said Saturday.

In an interview with Russia's 24-hour news channel Vesti, Minister for Industry and Energy Viktor Khristenko said that the reform in the electric power sector had attained its main objective to create market players.

"Now we have to enable them to enter the stock market," he said. "But we are moving on according to the plan and will complete the process next year."

The minister also said that strategically important structures crucial for energy security had been consolidated.

Khristenko said the reform also sought to liberalize gradually the electric power sector as part of the ongoing reform.

"It will include opening up thermo-power generating assets to private investors ... - a goal we have pursued in the past few years," the minister said.

Khristenko said that the government had considered a mid-term program for electric energy development for the next five years at its previous session.

"I hope that the decisions that the government has made will have the effect we expect - encourage investment, produce new power plants, new electricity transmission lines, and steady growth of the Russian economy," the minister said.

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