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Slovenian municipalities sue Austrian HPP operator Verbund for flood damage

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Published

February 9, 2017

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Published:

February 9, 2017

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Several Slovenian municipalities are suing the Austrian company Verbund, an operator of hydropower plants (HPPs) on the Drava River, for the damage caused by the 2012 floods.

The municipalities and entities affected by the flood claim more than EUR 100 million in the damage compensation, as RTV Slovenia reported.

One of the municipalities suing Verbund is Maribor which claims EUR 649,000 in the compensation for the damage to the public infrastructure caused by the flood. After an unsuccessful mediation process, a trial has begun at the Maribor District Court.

The trial was adjourned for an indefinite period and will be resumed when the court gets additional expertise and documents. The municipality of Maribor law team requested on behalf of their clients to get the documents from the Austrian court in Klagenfurt where Verbund is trying to prove that Drava Power Plants Maribor are responsible for the damage.

Five years ago, the flood destroyed the homes of more than eight thousand families and flooded more than 100 hectares of land. The Drava River also damaged the road in Trčova and the Mariborski Otok open-air swimming pools.

The Maribor authorities are convinced that the damage could have been prevented if Verbund had emptied the lake reservoirs. They claim that the company responded slowly to the heavy rainfall which caused the level of the Drava River rises extremely fast.

Maribor is not the only municipality seeking damage. Tens of damage liability trials against Verbund are underway in the courts in Maribor, Ptuj and Slovenj Gradec. The municipality of Duplek also hopes to cover around EUR 400.000 of its damage costs.

Private individuals, companies and insurance houses which had to cover the caused and insured damage are also among the injured parties. Some of them have decided to seek justice in the home of Verbund, so courts in Austria are also dealing with damage claims.

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