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Gov’t wants to see public ownership in utilities rise

Hungary's government does not aim to ruin utilities companies by reducing retail gas, electricity and district heating prices, but it does want to see more public ownership in the sector and would not turn down offers to sell, National Development Ministry state secretary János Fónagy said in Saturday's issue of daily Népszabadság.

The government mandated a 10% cut in retail gas, electricity and district heating prices in January and put Fónagy in charge of ensuring utilities companies carry through with the reduction.

According to reports in local media, the government plans further price cuts during the year.

Asked about speculation the government wants to make the situation difficult for utilities companies until their owners sell their stakes back to the state on the cheap, Fónagy said the state would like public ownership in the sector, which, in many cases is a monopoly, to increase. But he added that there was no connection between this matter and the government's intent to reduce the burden of households.