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Italian power, natural gas tariffs to rise 5% on January 1

Italy's power, gas and water regulator, Autorita per l'energia elettricail gas e il sistema idrico, said Friday it will increase both regulateddomestic gas and power tariffs 5% from January 1.

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* Power hike largest since Q2 2012

* Gas increase driven by seasonality, regional markets

AEEGSI said the power bill for the typical consumer would rise 5.3% inthe first quarter, while the typical gas bill will increase by 5.0%.

The power tariff rise was the largest since a 10.4% increase for thesecond quarter of 2012 while the gas tariff increase was the highest since thefourth quarter of 2014, according to regulator data.

AEEGSI said its reference price for first-quarter electricity would beEur0.20626/kWh (25 cents/KWh), up from Eur0.19589/kWh in the fourth quarter,with 49% of the tariff related to the cost of procurement, 19% fordistribution, metering and related, 20% for system costs (generally renewableincentives,) and 13% for taxes.

The regulator said there were nine factors which had contributed torising wholesale prices during the fourth quarter. Those included increasedend-user demand, reduced imports of French power as a result of nuclear plantoutages, low hydro caused by the driest year in 200 years, and higher regionalwholesale gas prices.

Domestic costs such as balancing, likely expenditure on interruptiblecontracts from next year -- the mechanism for which was still awaitingclearance from the EU -- and increased costs for essential plants alsocontributed to the tariff increase, AEEGSI said.

For natural gas, AEEGSI said the reference price for the typical consumerwould be Eur7,669 per cu m in the first quarter, up from Eur0.7305/cu m in thefourth quarter of 2017, with 41% of that corresponding to raw material costs,38% taxes, 18% transport and metering and 3% for system costs.

The quarter-on-quarter increase was largely due to seasonality, theregulator said, with increased regional demand and prices impacting thescenario for Italy.

--Gianluca Baratti,

--Edited by Dan Lalor,