Cap on electricity and gas prices extended
The government has extended caps on the retail prices of electricity and natural gas for households, small commercial consumers and protected consumers until the end of the year, as has caps on retail electricity prices paid by SMEs.
Unless extended, the regulated prices for SMEs would have expired on 30 June and for households, small commercial and other protected users on 31 August.
The regulated prices will now be in place until 31 December, as is already the case for a number of public institutions.
The extension will help households and protected users cope with the energy crisis and give SMEs a stable, predictable and competitive environment, Minister of the Environment, Climate and Energy Bojan Kumer told the press after the cabinet session on 13 April.
The government decided to extend the measure after an analysis of the wholesale market showed uncertainties warranting a price cap extension.
Kumer said the measure would cost less than the amount set aside for it. Up to €350 million has been planned as compensation to energy suppliers for selling at capped prices.
For households and consumption in shared premises, the maximum price per megawatt hour (MWh) is set at €118 for the peak rate, €82 for the off-peak rate and €98 for the single daily tariff.
For non-households with a connection capacity equal to or below 43 kW, the cap is €138 per MWh for the peak rate, €99 for the off-peak rate and €124 for the single tariff.
For protected users, the retail gas price cap for households and distributors of heat for households remains at €73 per MWh, and for social service centres, kindergartens, primary schools, health centres and small commercial customers at €79.
For SMEs, the maximum retail electricity price is capped at €217 per MWh for the peak rate, €155.5 for the off-peak rate and €195 for the flat rate.
It is not clear yet if price regulation for households and small commercial customers will be needed in 2024 as market prices are still higher than the capped ones. Kumer expects an exit strategy to be figured out in a month or two.
The situation is different for SMEs, as current wholesale prices are lower than the prices they paid when concluding contracts last year. The government hopes price caps for SMEs will no longer be needed next year.
Business associations welcomed the extension even though they expected the government to lower the capped prices.
The Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business (OZS) said that energy prices were still too high compared to competition in neighbouring countries, making Slovenian companies uncompetitive.
Similarly, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) had hoped "the highest capped price would have been set lower because the current market prices are also lower".
The current electricity price on the wholesale market is around €120 per MWh, while the government set it at EUR 195 for SMEs, said GZS president Tibor Šimonka.
"It is unacceptable that Slovenian companies pay a considerably higher price of energy than their competition abroad. This makes them totally uncompetitive."
The GZS also urged the government yet again to help large and energy-intensive companies, saying that despite some state aid they were paying more than €300 per MWh.