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Centrally-regulated retail gas prices to remain unchanged in Q4

Centrally-regulated retail gas prices will not rise in the fourth quarter, the National Development Ministry said on Friday.

With the decision, family budgets will temporarily avoid a further rise in spending on utilities, the ministry said.

The decision was taken on the basis of current social conditions, however the temporary freeze in prices should be replaced in the mid-term by a new subsidy system, based on solidarity, it said. The main goal of the new system will be to ensure affordable utilities bills for the most vulnerable consumers, it added.

The government said earlier it would start central regulation of water, trash and sewer fees. The ministry said it had started work on the necessary regulations and would complete them by November 30, 2011, allowing their introduction from 2012.

The government already regulates some retail natural gas, electricity and district heating prices.