The Slovenia Times

Govt wants more influence in strategic energy companies, minister says


Ljubljana - The government will certainly want more state influence in strategic energy companies, but it remains to be seen whether in terms of ownership or management, Minister of Infrastructure Bojan Kumer told the newspaper Dnevnik on Saturday after PM Robert Golob said earlier this week that an energy company could be nationalised soon.

Though Golob did not name any company, gas trader Geoplin has immediately emerged to be the one in question, co-owned by the state (25%) and energy firm Petrol (75%).

Kumer said that the state would like to have more say in Geoplin while it would also not be bad to rise its stake in Petrol, where it now holds around a third.

Key energy and infrastructure companies should never be "not owned or under-owned by the state", he said.

"Because of the importance of these companies, the state must have sufficient influence in them. In the past, we did not pay enough attention to this."

Kumer also discussed energy supply as the Krško N-plant, one of the biggest electricity producers in Slovenia, stopped for a month today for scheduled maintenance works.

As he pointed out, the difficult market situation has made them all the more prepared for the overhaul, and he expects everything will be fine if things go as planned.

In the opposite case, the worst-case scenario would be disruptions in energy supply.

When all available resources cannot provide sufficient amounts of electricity, the government has the legal option of ordering businesses and households to save energy.

If even this were not enough, there would be power cuts, starting with industry. "How far we would go with this would depend on how severe the situation were."

For instance, "the food industry must run smoothly, perhaps even at the expense of another sector", he said, adding that ski resorts are a big energy consumer and it is possible that the government would ban ski lifts from operating.

But under all these scenarios, the protected consumers such as households, care institutions and hospitals would not be affected. "We will provide them with electricity and gas even in the worst-case scenario!"


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