BUSINESS IN SHORT

Firms slash high electricity bills

COMPANIES in Slovakia are criticising the Regulatory Office for Network Industries (ÚRSO) for increasing the charge for operating the national grid, which makes up part of the end electricity price, by more than 10 percent as of August 20. The National Union of Employers (RÚZ), Club 500 and the Slovak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SOPK) issued a joint statement on September 9, with AmCham, the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia, voicing its criticism on September 10.

COMPANIES in Slovakia are criticising the Regulatory Office for Network Industries (ÚRSO) for increasing the charge for operating the national grid, which makes up part of the end electricity price, by more than 10 percent as of August 20. The National Union of Employers (RÚZ), Club 500 and the Slovak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SOPK) issued a joint statement on September 9, with AmCham, the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia, voicing its criticism on September 10.

The organisations consider the decision of ÚRSO to be in absolute contrast with the steps of other EU member states that make every effort to protect their industry and increase its competitiveness. They consider the decision to be controversial and say it was passed “without any consultation with the market participants, or any relevant, argumentative or analytically backed justification”.

Under the new rules, the charge for operation of the national grid stands at €21.82 per Megawatt hour. At the beginning of the year it was €19.82 per MWh, and last year just €16.03 per MWh. In 2008 it was at €2.81 MWh. The state uses the revenue to support the production of electricity from renewable energy resources, combined production of electricity and heat, and the production of brown coal.

“The end prices of electricity in Slovakia have been increasing since 2007 and for several years have been among the highest in Europe,” the statement reads, citing as an example that while an average steelworks in the EU paid about €62 per MWh in 2012, in Slovakia it was more than €100 per MWh. “Paradoxically, the price of electricity as a commodity has had a downward trend over the last years, including in Slovakia. The regulated portion of the end electricity price is developing in the opposite direction, primarily as a consequence of the increase in the support for electricity generated from renewable sources.”

ÚRSO, however, says its charge increases are in line with the law.

“Other objections of the signatories are none other than tools of permanent demagogic pressure,”

ÚRSO spokesman Miroslav Lupták said, as quoted by the SITA newswire, adding that ÚRSO has explained its reasons for increasing the charge in the relevant document and will not comment further.

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