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    RAO UES OF RUSSIA TO MAKE ELECTRIC ENERGY ORDINARY MARKET PRODUCT

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    MOSCOW, April 2 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian joint stock company "Unified Energy Systems of Russia" (RAO UES of Russia) is sure that government reorganization underway in Russia now will not tell on the terms within which the country's electric energy reform is to be implemented, Yuri Udaltsov, a member of the energy holding's board, said at a press conference in RIA Novosti Friday.

    "It's a technological delay, but it can't last too long; one more month will not let us down in this sense," Mr. Udaltsov said.

    In his words, RAO UES continues to coordinate the course of the reform with the ministry of economic development and trade and the ministry of industry and energy, despite the fact that the government commission on electric energy reform is no more.

    Mr. Udaltsov said these ministries are "the main regulators" of the reform. "It is not crucial for us how specifically authorities will be distributed between us and what mechanism for coordination they will choose. We will work with these ministries and departments and those coordination bodies that they will create," Mr. Udaltsov said.

    He expressed the hope that the government will adopt all necessary normative acts within the framework of electric energy reform before July 2004. "We hope that with the administrative reform completed, the government will resume work on resolutions in the energy sphere at the same speed as before March 2004," Mr. Udaltsov said.

    He recalled that the cabinet of ministers has to adopt a resolution on non-discriminatory access to networks, where the rights of electric energy consumers must be mentioned.

    Besides, the government is to discuss and adopt provisions on operative controller management, on energy selling companies and on intersystem connections.

    "A resolution on the rules of retail trade, which will regulate relations between the sellers and consumers of electric energy is to be adopted as well," Mr. Udaltsov said.

    Another member of the board of the energy holding, Vyacheslav Sinyugin, who took part in the press conference in RIA Novosti's central office, said RAO UES of Russia has completed work on the creation of joint stock company "System Operator - Central Control Department of UES of Russia." Thus, the energy holding is completing the formation of a unified vertical controller system that will be the guarantor of failsafe work of Russian electric energy industry during its transition to market conditions, Mr. Sinyugin said.

    He especially stressed that it would make it possible to avoid large-scale malfunctions in electric energy, similar to those the USA, Italy and Northern European countries recently had.

    RAO UES of Russia positively assesses the functioning of the free market of electric energy, Mr. Sinyugin said.

    "This project demanded efforts from many people to create a prototype of the future market, to create, first of all, infrastructure, train people, create a site. This is one of the most complex projects that started working on November 1," he said.

    In Mr. Sinyugin's opinion, the establishment of market makes it possible "both for the state to understand how it will develop" and for market participants to start learning "how to work in it and how to earn." He said the reform's main aim was to create a competitive and transparent market of electric energy, where it is an ordinary market product.

    Mr. Sinyugin said the tariff policy in electric energy won't change. "We've been long working on a plan of tariff fixing for three years. The key figures in the Russian government know about all this work. I think it will be continued and succession will be preserved here," he said.

    Answering journalists' questions, Mr. Sinyugin said he did not see any problems with the possible election of Oleg Deripaska, Bazovy Element company Board Chairman, as a member of the Board of Directors of RAO UES of Russia.

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