Business in Brief: May 12

Internet, cable, phone exit fees to be reduced; Industry fuel costs up in 1Q.

311_cellphone (photo credit: Bloomberg)
(photo credit: Bloomberg)
Internet, cable, phone exit fees to be reduced
Not long after approving the reduction of exit fees for customers of cellphone companies, the Communications Ministry on Wednesday approved extending the measure to include exits from Internet, cable and fixed telephone contracts.
Under the new regulation, which will be voted on Sunday at the cabinet meeting, communications companies will be prohibited from collecting an exit fee of more than 8 percent of the average monthly bill multiplied by the number of months remaining on a customer’s contract.
“There is no reason that a customer interesting in moving to another company to obtain benefits should be forced to pay a fine,” Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon said. “With the passing of this law, a significant barrier will be removed that will help improve competition and that will give the consumer the freedom to choose without restriction and without fines.”
Industry fuel costs up in 1Q
Fuel expenses in the industrial sector rose by an annualized 14 percent in the first quarter of 2011, despite a slight drop in overall consumption, according to a survey conducted by the Manufacturers Association of Israel’s energy committee.
Companies spent a total of NIS 1.2 billion on fuel in the first quarter, an increase of 14% compared to the same period the previous year and a 52% rise compared to the last quarter of 2010, the survey found. Overall consumption of diesel, LPG and fuel oil dropped by 1% in the first quarter compared to the same period last year, but rose by 41% in the fourth quarter of 2010.
“The relative rise in fuel expenses compared to the corresponding period last year, despite the drop in consumption, is a result of the significant increase in fuel prices that spiked last year by about an average 22%,” said Nava Sela, who heads the energy committee.