THE DOMINANT power producer in Slovakia, Slovenské Elektrárne (SE), which is controlled by the Italian energy company Enel, is reviewing its investment plans in the country. Originally, SE had planned to invest Sk100 billion in the Slovak energy industry by 2013, the SITA newswire wrote.
“Because of the approved government resolution on regulation of electricity prices in the general economic interest, the company may review its planned investments concerning their return,” a source close to the company’s management told SITA.
According to the source, it is not yet possible to say by how much the company’s investments in the energy industry in Slovakia will shrink, or which projects would be affected.
Juraj Kopřiva, SE spokesperson, declined to comment on the information provided by SITA.
“We will not comment on these speculations,” he said. However, he added that in the event of price regulation in the general economic interest a producer is entitled to compensation, but the measure proposed by the Economy Ministry does not mention any.
SE is also unhappy that the approved draft resolution refers only to a single electricity producer in Slovakia.
“The decision of the Economy Minister was addressed only to SE, whereas legislation clearly states that duties in the general economic interest must be non-discriminatory and guarantee equal access of companies in the energy industry to customers,” he said.
On July 9, the Slovak cabinet approved a paper outlining the general economic interest in the energy industry. This decision would give the Regulatory Office for Network Industries more regulatory powers to set the prices of electricity and natural gas for households.
"I have a feeling that energy monopolies sometimes make fools of us,” said Prime Minister Robert Fico. He said the government would not tolerate the fact that Slovak households have the lowest income and the highest expenditure on energy in the European Union.
As of April 2006, Enel holds a 66-percent stake in SE; the rest is held by the state.