Left seeks for MPs to call on govt to regulate energy prices

Ljubljana – The opposition Left has demanded for the parliamentary committees on infrastructure and social affairs to meet for a joint emergency session due to soaring energy prices. One of their proposals is regulating gas and power prices for end users.

Even though end users in Slovenia are not yet feeling the full extent of huge hikes in global gas prices due to sufficient stockpiles and prices guaranteed in long-term contracts the gas wholesaler Geoplin has with Russian suppliers, energy prices have started to go up for end consumers as well, the party says.

“At any rate people will pay the final price of the hikes and the poorest will be hit hardest,” the party says, adding that consumers in fully liberalised markets feel hikes much sooner and more than those in regulated energy supply markets.

The party criticised the EU for failing to consider any regulation of the market or even production and distribution planning in response to the population’s needs and development priorities.

“The option of direct supports for poor households is being mentioned, which is an urgent measure in the short run yet a futile one, as is the option of adjusting taxes and other levies in the field of energy,” they say.

Arguing that the current energy crisis needs to be addressed together with the climate emergency, the party calls for a “strong state intervention in the market to secure accessible pricing and undisrupted supply of energy to the most vulnerable households and to gradually replace market laws-based energy production and distribution with planning at the social level.”

The party thus proposes for the committees to adopt several resolutions, including calling on the government to come up in two weeks with a legal basis to regulate prices of natural gas and electricity for end users, and capping oil product margins.

They want the government to demand of majority state-owned energy companies to increase investment in dispersed production capacities from renewables.

The Left also wants MPs to call on the government to push for the EU to create an electricity production planning agency in line with commitments from the Paris climate deal and put in place a mechanism for reliable supply of households on a non-profit basis.