Serbia: New Energy Law revealed

, News Serbia Energy

National Assembly of Serbia adopted the Energy Law, which introduces the full implementation of the Third Energy Package of the EU and provides a higher consumer protection.

183 Members of Parliament voted for the Law, also including the representatives of opposition parties.

While presenting the Law to the Members of Parliament, the Serbian Minister of Mining and Energy Aleksandar Antić said that it improved the investment conditions and ameliorated the security of electricity and gas supply.

– The new law widely opens the doors for investments in the energy sector as one of the most perspective branches, in which investors are highly interested – said Antić.

He emphasized that the Energy Law represented a serious advance in the harmonization of regulations with the EU and the basis for a full implementation of the Third Energy Package directives, which was the obligation of Serbia as of 1st January 2015.

More than 40 of the 98 submitted amendments to the Energy Law have been accepted, most of which were proposed by the opposition.

The amendments harmonizing the Energy Law provisions on connecting facilities to the electric power grid and gas network with the deadlines for issuing building permits from the Law on Planning and Construction have been accepted.

The new law retains the provision on the full opening of the electricity and gas markets as of 1st January 2015. On the basis of this, households and small buyers will be able to choose electricity and gas suppliers, but they will also have the possibility of guaranteed supply.

The law replaces the former term “public supply” with “guaranteed supply”. The procedure for choosing a guaranteed supplier in a tender has also been prescribed, as well as the selection of a last resort supplier.

According to the new law provisions, small electricity buyers will be the companies having less than 50 employees and the annual income below 10 million EUR, consuming less than 30.000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, and the list of small buyers will be determined by 31st March every year.

The companies consuming more than 30.000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually will lose the right to guaranteed supply as of 1st July 2015 and they will have to find a supplier on the market.

The law also introduces the possibility of suspending the electricity price regulation for guaranteed supply as of 2017.

Electricity buyers will gain the right to access their own consumption data, and the supplier will also have to establish free-of-charge phone lines for informing consumers.

The law also introduces the bases for monitoring the technical and commercial quality of electricity and gas supply.

The activity of wholesale electricity supply has also been introduced and a foreign company has been given the possibility of obtaining the license for this activity, without the obligation of registering within the territory of Serbia.

Conditions have also been created for the establishment and operation of an electricity exchange. The possibility of the state being able to have one or more electricity distribution system operators has also been introduced, but they have to apply the same tariffs.

The law will come into force on the following day after being published in the Official Gazette.