VILNIUS – The legal sustainability of a liberal electricity market has to be ensured, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda says, adding that the energy minister's resignation would not change the situation.
The president says he's waiting for Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte to return from her vacation to discuss the situation after independent electricity supplier Perlas Energija terminated its contracts with almost 180,000 people.
"If (Energy Minister Dainius - BNS) Kreivys' resignation made electricity cheaper, I would say we could organize as many as three interpellations. But in this case the situation is much more complex. First of all, we have to ensure the system's legal sustainability," the president told reporters on Tuesday.
"Today, we see that the way the market is at the moment, it's rather naive to expect competition in it. That's why, when the prime minister returns from her vacation, I would like to meet with her to discuss this issue (...) and the reasons why market players start behaving in a way that is no longer predictable and try to put all their risks onto consumers' shoulders This is unacceptable and needs to change", the president said.
Earlier in the day, his adviser on economic and social policy, Vaidas Augustinavicius, said the process of electricity market liberalization in Lithuania was failing, therefore, its third stage should be postponed.
On Monday, Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys said the existing regulation for electricity suppliers was insufficient, adding that it would be tightened shortly. His ministry plans to put forward amendments to the existing law to increase the capital requirement for companies and to set high competence standards within the energy sector.
The move comes after one of the independent suppliers, Perlas Energija, announced last Friday it was moving customers on fixed-price plans to a plan linked to the energy exchange.
There are six independent electricity suppliers in Lithuania, and Ignitis, a state-owned company, accounts for 67 percent of the total market, followed by Perlas Energija (more than 15 percent), Enefit, an Estonian-capital company, and Latvia's Elektrum Lietuva with more than 8 percent each.