Energy regulator’s head to have limited powers

The ruling coalition will also confirm plans to create an energy holding.

The coalition parties leaders (l-r): Andrej Danko, Robert Fico and Béla BugárThe coalition parties leaders (l-r): Andrej Danko, Robert Fico and Béla Bugár (Source: SITA)

The new head of the Regulatory Office for Network Industries (ÚRSO) will have fewer powers than their predecessor, Jozef Holjenčík. The government will separate the posts of ÚRSO director and chair of the Regulatory Board, the Sme daily reported.

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This stems from the agreement of the coalition council. The decision follows the scandal over extremely high energy bills. It resulted in Holjenčík leaving the post.

“The ÚRSO head will not be chair of the Regulatory Board anymore,” Smer leader and PM Robert Fico said after the February 21 meeting of the coalition partners, as quoted by Sme.

The specific proposal will be prepared by Economy Minister Peter Žiga (Smer). He will submit it for discussion at the beginning of March when the new parliamentary session begins. This is also the reason why the government is not talking about Holjenčík’s successor. It first wants to be sure the posts will be separated, Sme wrote.

Read also: Energy prices hike tensions in coalition Read more 

The ÚRSO is currently led by its deputy head, Miroslav Čelínský, who will be responsible for any new price decisions the regulator should currently make. The plan is to use the same prices as were applied last year, also retrospectively.

“All price decisions the regulator will issue will be applied as of January 1, 2017,” the ÚRSO informed on February 21, as quoted by Sme. Originally, it planned to change them only as of March.

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The coalition parties also confirmed the creation of an energy holding whose task will be to merge all state shares.

“We, for example, want to better use the right of first refusal and use every opportunity to strengthen the state,” Fico said, as quoted by Sme.

The fact however is that until the investors want to sell their shares, the state cannot use its right of first refusal, according to the daily.

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