TALLINN – According to Rein Vaks, head of energy markets at the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, the majority of customers who currently buy electricity at the exchange price should switch to the universal service that will come into effect on Oct. 1.
The Riigikogu on Thursday passed a bill to amend the Electricity Market Act and the Competition Act, which introduces an option for households to buy electricity as a universal service at a price determined by the Competition Authority on the basis of production costs. The amended law imposes an obligation on the state-owned energy company Eesti Energia to sell electricity also as a universal service to Estonian household consumers and all electricity resellers from this October to April 30, 2026. It does not provide for the price of the universal service, but sets out the principles for determining the price.
According to the plan, the price of the universal service will be revealed no later than Sept. 30, once the Competition Authority has determined the price after a coordination process with electricity sellers. The price of the universal service of electricity sales consists of the agreed production price of electricity, to which are added as an additional cost component the justified costs related to the provision of the universal service of the electricity seller and a reasonable business profit, expected to be 10-15 percent.
If the universal service turns out to be cheaper than the current electricity price of the household consumer, they will be switched to the universal service automatically. Regardless of when the final price is revealed or when the consumer switches to the universal service, the price to be offered will also apply retroactively within the month. Also, a fine may not be charged for the termination of previously valid more expensive electricity packages until Sept. 30 of the next year.
If the consumer still wants to refuse the switch to the universal service, this must be reported two days before the change takes effect.
According to the ministry's forecast, universal service will be provided by around eight providers. Since the operating costs of companies may differ, the price of the universal service of the providers may also vary. Also, the price may change during the four-year validity period.
Automatic state energy compensations valid from Oct. 1 to March 31 of the next year also apply to the universal service.