VILNIUS – Lithuanian consumers have already paid for electricity generated by Belarus' Astravyets nuclear power plant that started operating in a trial mode last week, the chairwoman of the National Energy Regulatory Council (VERT) said on Friday.
According to Inga Ziliene, VERT will not approve the Baltics' new trilateral methodology for electricity trade with third countries in its current form because it fails to guarantee that Belarusian electricity will not enter the Lithuanian market.
"Since there is no certificate system today to verify what electricity flows in, (...) consumers have already paid to some extent for the electricity produced in Belarus," she told BNS.
Electricity generated in Belarus is physically flowing into Lithuania because of a market deficit and is traded on the power exchange in Latvia, according to Ziliene.
"All electricity flows in via the Belarus-Lithuania interconnection, and, in fact, it physically comes from Belarus, not from Russia, and that physical flow of electricity is sold in Latvia. Electricity that came from Belarus is converted into real money paid by Lithuanian consumers,” she said.
The VERT chairwoman said the factual data indicate that Latvia and Estonia have exported some of the electricity imported from Russia following the Astravyets launch back to Russia because the two Baltic countries do not need it.
She said transmission capacity for Russian electricity imports for trade in Latvia and Estonia, which mostly rely on local generation to meet their needs, has to be limited to the amount needed for consumption in the two Baltic countries – the principle on which electricity trade between Lithuania and Russia's Kaliningrad region is now based.
Although the Latvian and Estonian regulators have endorsed the new methodology, VERT cannot approve it in its current form, Ziliene said.
"None of the conditions have been met. Capacity has not been reduced, no provision has been put in place to exclude Lithuania when calculating the capacity for trade with Russia, and no system of certificates has been created," she said.