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Guideline to standardize, regulate utility fees

Updated: Jan 06,2021 05:20 PM

A guideline has been passed to standardize and regulate fees for water, electricity, gas and heat supplies in cities and towns, according to a circular issued by the General Office of the State Council on Jan 6.

The guideline, issued jointly by the National Development and Reform Commission and other departments, intends to improve the price mechanism and promote better service quality.

By 2025, a scientific, standard, and transparent pricing mechanism should be established, and utilities supply and related services should offer better quality and efficiency, according to the circular.

Unreasonable fees at any step before the supply of water, electricity, gas and heat must be canceled, the circular said.

It also called for efforts to improve the pricing mechanism for utility industries as soon as possible.

Pricing for water should be set based on the cost and reasonable profits, to boost the quality of supplied water and promote water conservation.

For electricity, restrictions on prices will gradually be removed, except in the supply for residents, agriculture, and important public causes and public services.  Time-variant electricity pricing should also be improved.

Gas and heating should be priced or guided by the government.

The guideline also urged efforts to deepen reform on the system and mechanism of utility industries, and to further remove market access limitations.

Social capital will be supported to enter the market and provide more supply through public-private partnerships and mixed business operations, according to the guideline.