Open Governance
Unreasonable Charges on Water, Power and Natural Gas and Heating Supplies Fully Abolished in Sichuan

  A few days ago, Sichuan's Implementation Plans for Sorting Out and Standardizing Charges Levels among Water, Power, Natural Gas and Heating Suppliers in Townships for Driving Provincial Quality Development was issued jointly by Sichuan Provincial Development and Reform Commission and other eight government agencies, coming up with concrete measures in terms of clarifying respective responsibilities of local governments, enterprises and subscribers, improving price regulation mechanism, providing a sound financial investment and favorable subsidy policies, setting up standards for market entities’ charges and bettering business environment. 

  As stipulated in the Plans, all chargeable items, specified in the Opinions on Sorting Out and Standardizing Charges on Water, Power, Natural Gas and Heating Supplies in Townships to Promote Quality Development which was previously proposed by National Development and Reform Commission and other relevant departments, unreasonable charges on such services as door-to-door visit, subscription cancellation, supplies re-subscription, electricity meter transfer, change of power-use purposes as well as all guarantee deposits were abolished from March 1, 2021 onward. 

  According to the Plans, all relevant departments should accelerate and improve pricing mechanism by relying on the foundation of "permitted costs and reasonable profits" strategy and establishing a sound price mechanism which was beneficial to stimulating improvement on quality of water supply and promoting water saving. All parties should actively coordinate in combing price structure of power transmit and distribution, advancing price reform of power used for the accessibility to the network, consummating price policy for power use during peak and valley hours under national unified deployments. Practical methods for costs supervision and review and price management should be modified for water and natural gas supplies in order to unblock price regulation approaches.

  Financial investment should be ensured in a down-to-earth manner by granting funds in projects construction. Local governments should undertake the required proportion of costs incurred in the land reserve related project construction that realizes network accessibility in subscribers' residential area, which were circled in red in urban construction plan, to public network system and reconstruction of power supplies system in old urban communities, and make appropriation for relevant power suppliers to advance construction, or the governments could take over the construction directly with their own investment. Commitment of providing basic guarantee for low-income group should be truly delivered.

  It’s given in the Plans that all parties involved should deepen the system reform of power supplies industry, further lift the restrictions on market access, show social capital a path to enter the market in an orderly manner to further increase market supplies. It’s also required to separate investment, construction, operation and supervision into different divisions so as to boost equitable competitions in design and construction, project acceptance, operation and maintenance and other processes.

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