SARAJEVO Aug 15 Serbian energy regulator AERS
approved average increases in gas retail prices of 4.4 percent
for households and 5.7 percent for all consumers including
businesses from September.
The second increase this year will bring prices to 46.3
Serbian dinars ($0.54) per cubic metre (cm) of gas for
households and to 42.9 dinars per cm for businesses, AERS said
A total of 33 small gas distributors wanted to adjust their
tariffs after the government allowed Srbijagas, their main
supplier, to raise wholesale gas prices by 6.4 percent on Aug.
Srbijagas had sought the rise to help cover its mounting
debts and increasing import costs. Chief Executive Dusan
Bajatovic had said the firm was losing money because
government-regulated retail prices were below the prices
Srbijagas pays for imports from Russia, Serbia's main gas
But a move to raise energy prices is a sensitive political
issue in Serbia, where the government is seeking to avoid social
discontent as living standards sink.
In 2012, Srbijagas made a loss of more than 750 million
euros ($995 million) due in part to overdue payments mainly from
state-run firms undergoing restructuring.
($1 = 0.7538 euros)
(Reporting by Maja Zuvela; editing by Jane Baird)