Public debate of the Macedonian Energy Association – MEA on Draft Law on Energy Law – TOO GREAT INTEGRATION OF ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION IS DEBATABLE
➢ News (17.09.2010)
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Public debate of the Macedonian Energy Association – MEA on Draft Law on Energy Law – TOO GREAT INTEGRATION OF ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION IS DEBATABLE

In the organization of Macedonian Energy Association, on September 17th, 2010 in the Economic Chamber of Macedonia was held the first public debate on Draft Law on Energy, especially significant legislation for the Republic of Macedonia. 
     The Minister of Economy, Dr. Farmir Besimi participated on the public debate and gave explanation on the proposed text of the law.
The Law on Energy was prepared transparently, he stressed, together with external experts and frequent communication with other institutions, as well as consultations with European Energy Association.  The drafting of this law is necessary in order to be in compliance with the European legislation in the energy sector and also to fulfill the obligations towards the European Energy Association.
     The proposed text regulate the energy policy aims, its realization through  regulation of energy activities,  regulation separately on the market for all types of energy, the conditions for improving  of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. In defining of the legal obligations which govern the energy markets, in consideration are taken the specifics of our energy market, indicated the Minister Besimi.
The law provides new way of planning energy needs in order to ensure security of supply of energy, full liberalization   of the market of electricity, thermal energy and natural gas till 2015 which is  in function of providing better and more real services in the energy sector.
     Furthermore, the Law regulates the achievement of targets in relation to the EU agenda by 2020, and that is -20% of the energy to be from renewable sources and by 20% to be reduced the greenhouse gases emission.
     From 2015 the households too become qualified consumers and appear on the free market. And in order to ensure safer supply, a new category is introduced: ultimate supplier.
     What is to be achieved by the Law is: increasing competition on energy market and grater confidence among consumers, the sustainable development of energy sector, improvement of energy efficiency, increasing the share of energy produced from renewable sources, long-term security in energy supply, and what is also important, a transitional period is predicted for implementation of parts of the Law in order to give space to adapt to the new system of market liberalization.
     At the end of his presentation, Minister Besimi stressed that with this Law are already adopted two strategic documents: the Energy Strategy and the Strategy for renewable energy sources, as well as The Strategy for energy efficiency that is in the process of adoption, on complete and consistent manner is rounded off one of the area which is crucial for both industry and the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia.
      On the first public debate primarily was expressed the support to the adoption of this important law for the total living in Macedonia. The appraisal is that it implements the European directives, and it is important that the energy market will be fully liberalized, by creation of competition among energy manufacturers and suppliers.
     Representatives of the energy sector in Macedonia has presented the following remarks:
     - The law gives excessive powers to Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), which would not be contentious if the ERC has the necessary capacity to be an independent body that will remain outside of the government influence. With the existing regulations of the ERC it is allowed to enter into matters regulated by other laws in the Republic of Macedonia, for example, Law on obligations, Law on securities, etc. Furthermore, the law does not provide penalties for operation of the ERC;
     - In the Law are favored separate energy entities on behalf of the others, especially in the market of oil and oil derivatives; 
     - Not set in the same way the ultimate electricity supplier and the ultimate natural gas supplier- the ultimate gas supplier to be valid only for hardly to access and small consumers, such as households;
     - Problematic is provision of EVN Macedonia to import electricity. It is technically hard to achieve due to disparity of night and day energy. The manufacturer requires the ability to import electricity to optimize production;
     - The transmission  from distribution of natural gas is not restricted, which could cause confusions;
     - Disputable is because now ERC grants permission for ”preferential manufacturer” although it was previously done by the Agency. Therefore it is necessary to divide responsibilities between the Agency for Energy and ERC and to remove provisions where there is duplication of responsibilities of the Agency and the Ministry of Economy.  

     More serious objection is the inadequate definition of small consumers, which leaves the possibility after 2015 the predicted full liberalization of the energy market not to be completed. With the proposed definition as small consumers in Macedonia are considered even 95% of the companies by which up to 2015 they remain in the regulated electricity suppliers. If this does not change, there is a serious danger that the electricity market won’t  be liberalized in 2015 because it would have to happen suddenly,  not gradually as planned;
     -  Disputable is the provision that the status of supplier is available only with more than 100 thousand users, because it is not possible to reach for gas and heat suppliers;
     - In circumstances where all suppliers are private companies, the law has no solution what will happen if the company becomes insolvable. Clear solutions are needed in order the state to protect the customers; 
     - A crucial problem that must be solved precisely in the law is how to solve the supply in the state where the company that performs the supply has certain problems;
     - Solutions are necessary in case when company has a need to return the license for supply, because the next step is financial insolvency.
These are the general remarks on the Draft text of the Law. 

     Participants in the public debate will submit those and other remarks to the Ministry of Economy, with a view to their incorporation into the final version of the Law.

     At the end of the discussion, the Minister Besimi expressed his readiness to review the comments /remarks of the debate and in written form to be submitted to the Ministry of Economy. Furthermore, he noted that there is no perfect law and one legal solution can not satisfy the all parties’ requirements. But most important is to provide legal solutions which are of interest for consumers and companies working in the field of energy, which are harmonized with  European directives and regulations in the field of energy, and what is particularly important, those that will ensure continuity and stability in energy supply.