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    Russia's premier urges stable power supply after UES reform

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    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin urged on Wednesday the provision of stable electric power supplies after Russia's electric power monopoly ceases to exist.

    MOSCOW, June 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin urged on Wednesday the provision of stable electric power supplies after Russia's electric power monopoly ceases to exist.

    The Unified Energy System of Russia (RAO UES) will cease to exist in July as part of a restructuring of the electricity industry.

    "During this period, it will be necessary to prevent a loss of control over the electric power sector. Measures must be taken to guarantee reliable electric power supplies to households and industry, especially in the fall and winter. For this purpose, we must build an effective system of interaction between all participants in the electric power market," Putin said.

    The premier said that the control functions earlier performed by UES, including the coordination of the electric power sector's development, the forecast of demand and other functions, would be transferred directly to the Energy Ministry.

    Putin said that the reform of the electric power sector that began in 2001 was aimed at increasing the efficiency of power plants and developing the industry by attracting investment.

    The premier also urged the government to solve as quickly as possible the problem of connecting newly-created small and medium businesses to the electric power grid.

    According to Russia's Economics Ministry, connection to the electrical power grid has proven to be a major obstacle to developing free enterprise in Russia.

    Putin said the problem could be solved by the construction of new generating capacity, but that other measures should also be drafted.

    The Russian premier said that growth in demand for electric power could exceed the planned 70% by 2020, adding that the government should pay close attention to the sector's development to meet growing demand.

    Putin said that in February the Russian Cabinet of Ministers approved a general scheme for the accommodation of electric power facilities until 2020, envisaging the commissioning of over 40 GW of generating capacities and the construction of almost 100 kilometers of mainline and distribution electricity networks.

    Putin also said that the government had to ensure a comparable level of electricity tariffs in various regions.

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