“The price of electricity is too high not only for domestic consumers but also for the Estonian economy. We are neither sustainable nor competitive at such prices. The government is discussing measures to help businesses,” Seeder said. .
“It is Isamaa’s wish and proposal that it would be very simple, unbureaucratic and business-friendly if we could extend universal service for individuals to all businesses,” Seeder said.
He added that it would require [state aid] discussions with the European Commission, which would take quite a bit of time. “However, I hope that the Commission realizes the extraordinary situation of the war, of the skyrocketing electricity prices, of the market which is not working as we would like it to, and that the European Union is capable to react quickly so that the negotiations are short and that we can extend universal service to businesses,” noted Seeder.
How to lower the price of gas?
Host Mirko Ojakivi asked Seeder if there was anything the government could do to ensure that the price of gas would not jeopardize jobs in Estonia.
Seeder pointed out that the electricity market reform also affects gas and district heating customers, adding that the government will discuss these issues next week and make decisions before the end of September.
“That is, private consumers will be compensated with 80% of the price exceeding €80 per megawatt hour (MWh). The same applies to district heating – €80/MWh, with 80% of everything which exceeds this compensated price without volume. The latter is 2.6 megawatts for gas. Things are much more complicated with regard to firewood. The government will have to find a solution with the local governments for a mechanism of compensation,” Seeder suggested.
“Speaking of business, there is no simpler solution than trying to introduce a ceiling on domestic prices to keep businesses competitive,” he added.
The bill to reform the universal service or the electricity market passed its first reading on Wednesday.
A bill amending the Electricity Market Law and the Competition Law, or the so-called Electricity Market Reform, will cap the price of electricity generation and sell electricity to individuals as a universal service.
Michal: Finding solutions
Ojakivi also asked Reform MP Kristen Michal whether her party supported extending universal service to businesses or whether that would be unworkable in a market economy.
“The market economy, hopefully, will remain in force. But it has been discussed. First of all, we support universal service as such, because otherwise it would not be included in the coalition agreement. Solutions are being sought for businesses, as promised by Minister for Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Riina Sikkut and Minister for Foreign Trade and IT Kristjan Järvan,” he said.
“Above all, we are waiting for solutions. Solutions were available under the previous government – compensation for various costs, etc. This is not the first year that this has been discussed, and it is likely that a solution will be found. J hope it will target those who need it most,” added the Reform MP.
Sikkut: No decision yet
Minister Riina Sikkut (SDE) said no business support measures were agreed during the coalition talks and no such package currently exists.
“There is no agreement on who should be compensated for what. These debates will take place within the framework of the negotiations on the state budget, alongside other prospective expenditure. We could know something in three weeks at the earliest,” the minister said.
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