Slovenia joins most EU countries in liberalizing energy market

Jul 02, 2007 02:00 AM

Slovenia joined most of the European Union countries in the liberalization of the energy market for households, making it possible for household consumers to choose their electricity and gas providers.
As EU liberalization rules which aim at improving competition took effect, Slovenia and eight others EU countries joined forces with 10 EU member countries that have led the liberalization vanguard ahead of the deadlines, with Britain setting the trend by opening its markets to competition as far back as 1990.

The EU's executive arm European Commission believes a strong internal gas and electricity market throughout the 27-nation block is a key ingredient to energy security, largely because more competition will encourage suppliers to invest in networks to prevent potential blackouts.
"I encourage European consumers to take advantage of their freedom to choose their energy suppliers. A functioning EU energy market can only be obtained if consumers participate in the market actively," EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said.

According to the Slovenian Energy Agency, there are some 780,000 household electricity users in Slovenia and 107,000 household users of natural gas. Households account for about a quarter of all electricity demands and some 10 % of the natural gas used in the tiny former Yugoslav country.
Electricity has been supplied to them by five Slovenian distributors, whereas 17 distributors supplied the retail natural gas market. The change of supplier will be free of charge, and the users who will not opt for a change will continue to be supplied by their current supplier.

The Slovenian agency expects that the number of households that will opt for a switch will remain low at the beginning.
According to experience from those EU countries where the market has already been liberalized, only up to 5 % of end users opt for the switch in the first year following the opening of the market.

Source / Xinhua News Agency
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