An overwhelming majority in the National Assembly of Slovenia passed the Electricity Supply Act, as opposition parties succeeded with their amendments that they say would protect end consumers, especially owners of photovoltaic systems for own supply.
According to relevant European directives, Slovenia was supposed to pass legislation regulating the power supply segment by the end of 2019. In the meantime, the European Commission started a procedure against the member state’s government. The National Assembly finally passed the Electricity Supply Act with 75 votes in favor and only seven against.
It is one of six laws that need to regulate areas that were covered by the Energy Law, deemed too complex and not transparent enough. Most of the changes that are coming into force with the Electricity Supply Act concern the relations between suppliers and end customers, and the status of citizens’ energy communities.
All end consumers have same rights
Some opposition parties managed to delete a provision that they argued would have curtailed the rights of some end customers and enabled them to initiate proceedings before the European Commission over discrimination. The government controls only 38 out of 90 members of parliament, with another five lawmakers supporting it.
The amendments put owners of photovoltaic facilities for own supply in a equal position with other end consumers
The disputes over the draft Electricity Supply Act mostly concerned the status of owners of existing photovoltaic facilities for own supply and those who would install such systems on their roofs by the end of 2023. The original proposal put them in an unequal position, the critics said.
The amendments made all end consumers of electricity equal and able to act as active consumers, which means they can participate in adjustments of consumption and production to maintain the power system’s stability. Every customer now has the right to sign contracts with several suppliers at the same time and to opt for a dynamic pricing tariff – it is tied to the changes in wholesale prices.
Dispute over fossil fuel subsidies
State Secretary at the Ministry of Infrastructure Blaž Košorok said the Electricity Supply Act regulates the introduction of smart meters and the right to produce, store and sell electricity. It defines energy poverty and the obligations and limitations in the field of electric mobility, he added.
The Left was the only party that abstained from voting. Its representatives said the law would make it possible to subsidize the production of electricity from fossil fuels.
Of note, the government has just adopted the draft amendments for the Act on the Promotion of the Use of Renewable Energy Sources. They should harmonize Slovenia’s legislation with European rules and enable supporting measures for energy efficiency, alternative fuels and the reduction of emissions in transportation.