TALLINN – Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Kristjan Jarvan on Thursday introduced to the economic affairs committee of the Estonian parliament a bill of amendments to the Electricity Market Act, which aims to expand the universal service to include business consumers; the bill was admitted into handling and the universal service can likely be used by small businesses from Nov. 1.
"I commend the companies that have already done their best to increase their resource efficiency and thereby save on energy costs. As companies are not in any better state than household consumers in the conditions of the current high energy prices, the state plans to expand the universal service to include them as well as soon as possible. This is one of the aid measures in a larger package with which we plan to help business consumers during this heating season," Jarvan said in a press release.
The bill provides that the universal service is extended to include small businesses with less than 50 employees and an annual turnover or annual balance sheet below 10 million euros. According to the proposals, non-profit organizations, foundations and self-employed persons who buy electricity in the amount of up to one gigawatt-hour per year would also be among the recipients of the universal service. The universal service would apply to them until the end of 2023.
Electricity sellers providing universal service have the right to propose transferring a business consumer who buys electricity at a price higher than universal service to universal service. The difference compared to the transfer of household consumers to universal service is that the business consumer must notify at least two days before the possible transfer if they agree to transfer to universal service.
The bill also stipulates that if the Enefit Power production equipment that produces electricity for the universal service is not enough to serve business consumers, other equipment owned by the manufacturer will also be used as a basis for the calculation of the production price, and in such a case, the price in effect for household consumers and business consumers may differ.
The parliamentary economic affairs committee decided to take the amendment proposal submitted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications into handling. The bill must go through three readings in the Riigikogu, and business consumers can start using the universal service after the law has entered into force. This opportunity could be open from Nov. 1.