Independent MP Daniel Lipšic is claiming that a proposed amendment to the Support for Renewable Energy Sources Act has been designed by the government to benefit the PPC steam and gas power plant, owned by the Penta financial group, to the tune of €20 million each year at the expense of electricity consumers, the TASR newswire reported.
Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, December 13, Lipšic called the legislation a Christmas present for Penta. "It's tailored to their needs. The only purpose of the motion is to provide PPC with €20 million each year from electricity purchasers," said the former Christian Democratic Movement vice-chair. The amendment, which he referred to as "Lex Penta" and "Lex Gorilla", makes it clear now just what it was that Robert Fico secretly discussed with Penta co-owner Jaroslav Haščák at the safe flat that became notorious during the Gorilla affair, said Lipšic.
The opposition MP claimed that PPC's exclusive contract with the Bratislavská Teplárenská heating company and Slovenské Elektrárne power distributor is due to expire in 2013. That would mean that the company would have to start operating in the open market, he said. The government proposal increases additional fees for companies producing both electricity and heat from 125 megawatts to 300 MW. "And these prerequisites are met only by PPC, and no other power plant," stressed Lipšic. He said it was absurd to have financial groups profiting from public money at a time of consolidation, when money for teachers is lacking.
There is no apparent link between amending the Support for Renewable Energy Sources Act and the Penta financial group, Economy Minister Tomáš Malatinský said on Thursday in response to Lipšic's allegations. Malatinský also asserted that it was other governments that had helped the group. "There were other governments under which it was decided that PPC would be sold to the Penta investment group and that [the group] would be granted a package with a favourable contract so that it wouldn't be so demanding for it in terms of repayments," said the minister, as quoted by TASR. Malatinský added that he senses room for reducing electricity prices in amending the law. Conversely, Lipšic warned that the measure would translate into price hikes.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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14. Dec 2012 at 10:00