The energy policy of the current government has faced at least two obstacles: The Energy Regulatory Office and the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. There is a plan to get rid of them from the system – writes Wojciech Jakóbik, editor-in-chief of BiznesAlert.pl.
ERO and OCCP hinder the government’s energy policy
Until now, the President of ERO Maciej Bando was a critic of the government’s works. An example of this could be its the initial resistance to the Baltic Pipe financing plan and the extension of the LNG terminal by raising the tariff. The president also criticized the policy towards the Removable energy sources and defense of coil against climate policy of European Union through the construction of “Energy autarky“. In his opinion, the above mentioned activities may terminate with insulation of Polish energy and higher costs for consumers, which the Government is to defend. The problem is that the President’s term of office is 10 years and it didn’t yet end.
On the other hand Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (“OCCP”) shall decide on concentration in the energy sector. Lately, doubts in this respect were caused by taking over the EDF Polska assets by the Polish Energy Group. The Office initially blocked the taking over, and later on granted a conditional aproval. Government’s energy policy presumably assumes further concentration on the market, argued with the necessity of consolidation caused by growing climate policy burden and international competition. There are opinions on the necessity of further fusion among the Big Four: PGE, Enea, Energa and Tauron. The problems is that the OCCP may have not agree for further concentration in the sector.
The commission will break a deadlock
The government team already has a solution. Ministry of Energy works on the project of amendment of the Energy Law, according to which the President of the Energy Regulatory Office would substitute the 3 person opinion of Energy Market supervision Authority – as results from the information on The Chancellery of the Prime Minister website.
– The aim of the amendment project is to contribute to further electric energy and natural gas market development as well as effective exercise of implementing powers by the regulator. As the regulator is being given the a number of new tasks which is constantly growing, for example as far as so called winter package, it is necessary to ensure proper and timely execution of those tasks. The collegiality guarantees higher effectiveness of duties performance and lower vulnerability at making decisions concerning energy sector – we read in the justification.
The commission is to substitute the president Maciej Bando and OCCP (in matters related to concentration on energy market). The commission could interfere in transmission agreement. In opinion of the Energy Ministry, which is the initiator of the change, this solution is compliant with the European law and was implemented in some member countries. This means that the government is to remove the fuses out of the system and turn off the manual energetics steering.
Does the end justifies the means?
I am the proponent of Baltic Pipe construction and LBG terminal expansion in order to facilitate further gas market development in Poland despite the intent to constrain it on the Central and Eastern European level using Gazprom projects, such as Nord Stream 2. I believe that Polish power engineering should create a spore, which enable it effective passage thought the process of modernization necessary for its adjustment to the more and more ambitious requirements of climate policy.
I also think, that not all ends justifies the means and the above projects should not be realized by means of regulations against of given officials, as Bando, or in order to protect given projects. Perhaps, those projects can be amended in such a way to comply with system requirements settled by OCCP and ERO. Removing the fuses can end up in the drop and not increase of security – of course energy security. And for sure, it might not be too long before it will bring much of a critics on the part of the opposition.