Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's cabinet has agreed to introduce legislation calling for more competition and transparency in the electricity and gas market. A new regulation authority will be given the task of overseeing the country's private utilities sector and ensuring that no single company monopolizes the market and that electricity networks are open to all providers, including those specializing in renewable resources, and treated fairly. Consumers will also be able to switch utilities providers whenever they wish. The new law means that electricity and gas will be cheaper for the consumer, said Economic Minister Wolfgang Clement. It is expected that prices will begin to drop in 2005 and 2006.