Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New energy acts in parliament committees

Slovakia has still not transposed two EU directives in its national law even though they are essential for liberalization of the energy sector.

The concerned directives of the EU Third Energy Package are Directive on common rules for the internal market in gas (2009/73/EC) and Directive on common rules for the internal market in electricity (2009/72/EC).

The deadline for their transposition expired on March 3rd, 2011. In February 2012 the European Commission sent Reasoned Opinions to urge Slovakia to comply with this legal obligation.

Long approval process
In February the drafts of new energy laws - Act on Energy and Act on Regulation in Network industries - submitted for approval by the former minister of economy did not gain support of the Slovak parliament.

At the end of May modified bills were approved by new government and one month later they passed through the first reading in the parliament.

On Thursday and Friday (19-20 July) they are scheduled for discussion in parliament committees. 

Some observers anticipate a lot of amendments in the following second and third reading. However, others claim that thanks to comfortable majority of the ruling party, the approval of the bills should not be a problem. 

Competition in 2011
According to Regulatory Office for Network Industries (ÚRSO) in 2011 the gas and electricity market “was truly functional what justified further dynamic development.”

Towards the end of 2011 there were in total 385 electricity suppliers in Slovakia. 41 of them supplied electricity to households, the others focused on corporate customers. 

Along with the traditional supplier SPP there were more than 15 gas traders in the Slovak gas market.
However, 6 electricity suppliers maintain rather substantial share, about 73 % in the electricity market. SPP maintained 77 % share in the market of gas supplies to final consumers. 

In 2011 more than 40,000 households and more than 2,200 non-household consumers switched their electricity supplier. Also more than 21,000 households switched their gas supplier. 2011 was the first year they were allowed to do so. 

The new legislation should substantially shorten the administrative period of switch from current up to few months to maximum of three weeks. The directives also put exceptionl emphasis on no charge for changing supplier policy. This provision in current law has been often circumvented by indirect charges for ´consulting services´.

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