Estonian minister: Universal service should be offered to larger companies too

  • 2022-12-20
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Kristjan Jarvan is about to present a proposal to Prime Minister Kaja Kallas at a working meeting on Tuesday to extend the offering of electricity as a universal service in Estonia also to medium-sized enterprises.

According to the minister, the move would support the competitiveness of energy-intensive enterprises in Estonia and help preserve jobs.

"In the longer term, our industry needs to make a leap in development, but it is important that no one is left behind in the current crisis. There is currently a market failure in the electricity market which justifies public intervention," Jarvan said in a press release.

The minister argues that even though electricity as a universal service would also be necessary for large enterprises, for medium-sized enterprises it can be implemented faster, because making the universal service available to medium-sized enterprises is favored by European Union rules. Back in late September of this year, the council of EU energy ministers decided to relax state aid rules and allowed to extend fixed-price measures upheld by governments to medium-sized enterprises.

Companies with up to 250 employees and a turnover of up to 50 million euros per year are considered medium-sized enterprises. Together with the universal service already extended to micro and small companies, the measure would cover a large proportion of Estonian companies.

"The universal service has proved its worth in two months and it is easy to extend it with the amendment to medium-sized businesses. There is sufficient capacity to enable it, and in the current energy crisis, state aid authorization can be applied for quickly. We can help our companies quickly with the universal service. Hopefully we will also get political support for this in the coalition," the minister from Isamaa party said.

At the meeting with the head of government, Jarvan will also stress the need to fight for a price cap on carbon dioxide quotas in the European Union and will propose to discuss in the government the repayment of the CO2 fee to exporting Estonian companies so that they are not in a worse position than foreign competitors.