Slovakia sets higher gas price, rebuffs large hike

BRATISLAVA Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:19am EST

BRATISLAVA Nov 30 (Reuters) - Regulated gas prices for households in Slovakia will rise slightly next year, while electricity prices will drop, the country's regulator (URSO) said on Friday.

URSO rejected a request filed by gas utility Slovensky Priemyselny Priemysel (SPP), run by Germany's E.ON and France's GDF Suez, for an increase between 18 and 25 percent.

It said the regulated price of gas will rise by 0.46 percent on average, adding electricity prices will drop by 3.28 percent. It said ruling on heating prices was still ongoing, but expected them to stay flat.

"Should there be no weakening of the euro against the U.S. dollar, prices of gas could actually drop," Jozef Holjencik, head of URSO, told reporters.

After a one-year period of deregulation the euro zone country will start to regulate prices of electricity again for small business with annual consumption below 30,000 kilowatt hours (kWh), URSO said.

E.ON and GDF are in talks with Czech energy holding EPH over a possible sale of its 49 percent stake in SPP. The government expected the deal could be concluded by the end of this year. (Reporting by Martin Santa)

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