The Economy Ministry has instructed the country's dominant power producer, Slovenské Elektrárne, a.s. (SE), which is controlled by the Italian power group Enel, to continue operating boilers in the Vojany thermal power plant. Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek said there was a danger that SE could lose control over these boilers, since the leasing company that financed their purchase has filed for bankruptcy and the receiver who took over the tangible and intangible assets in line with the law has started selling the property. "A completely different group than SE is currently the owner of the boilers. I do not know why SE did not resolve this issue. We assigned SE the task of finding a solution with the new owner, to keep these two boilers in operation," said the minister after the cabinet session on July 15.
SE were tight-lipped on the issue. "We will not comment on speculations. We will continue operating the boilers in Vojany, the proof of which is that we plan to invest Sk7-8 billion (€230 -270 million) in this thermal power plant in eastern Slovakia," SE spokesman Juraj Kopriva told SITA. The two boilers in Vojany produce electricity that SE uses to provide auxiliary services to the electricity transmission network.
"If we lost 240 MW of installed auxiliary power, Slovakia would face very serious problems. If electricity production by these two boilers stops we will use other tools that the state has at its disposal to order SE to secure 240 MW of auxiliary services at its own cost. Currently, it is really the turn of SE management: it has to find a solution," the minister stressed.
The problem had emerged as early as 2000, under the government of Mikulaáš Dzurinda, Jahnátek said. Eight years earlier, SE did not finance reconstruction of the boilers directly, but secured funds via a leasing contract. For unclear reasons, the minister said, SE sold the boilers to a leasing company for cash and leased them back. After the leasing company got into trouble it notified SE of its situation and asked them to repay the remaining instalments for the boilers. He said SE and its new management ignored this information, adding that the management simply underestimated the situation and failed to resolve it. After the leasing company went bankrupt, the two boilers ended up in the hands of an entity that has advanced its claims through bankruptcy proceedings. SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
16. Jul 2008 at 18:00