UPDATE 1-Poland's energy regulator approves price hike for PGE

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WARSAW, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Poland’s energy regulator URE said on Friday it had agreed to let power company PGE hike energy prices in 2020, following similar approvals for the country’s other three operators.

Poland’s ruling nationalists Law and Justice (PiS) have vowed to protect households from rising energy bills caused by increasing carbon emission costs and surging wholesale power prices, but have yet to announce details of how this will be done.

Household electricity bills for PGE clients will rise by 10.5-11% on average monthly, starting from Jan. 18 until the end of March, URE said.

The announcement follows similar approvals for rivals Tauron , Energa and Enea, who will hike bills by around 11-13% on average per month.

In 2019 prices were capped thanks to a cut in the tax rate consumers pay on electricity and the so-called transitional fee, a component of electricity bills. (Reporting by Alan Charlish and Anna Koper; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Alex Richardson)