Ljubljana, 01 September (STA) - Slovenian companies will have lower electricity bills as of September, following a government decision to largely reverse a controversial trebling of a compulsory fee for the promotion of renewables.
Following a threefold increase in February, the government cut the contribution by 40-47%, which is projected to lower total corporate electricity expenses by around EUR 8m by the end of the year, according to government calculations.
The contribution will be lowered for business costumers with medium and high installed capacity, while the fee remains unchanged (EUR 1.22 per kW) for households and businesses with low installed capacity.
The February hike had been expected to increase the total contributions paid from EUR 56m to more than EUR 130m a year, according to estimates by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS).
The GZS thus pressured the government into lowering the contribution, arguing that the high fees undermined competitiveness. The government changed the relevant decree on 28 July.
The money collected with the fees is channelled into a support scheme for renewables, which had a combined capacity of 375.5 MW at the end of 2012, more than double that of 2011, on the back of the installation of nearly 1,400 new solar arrays.
Electricity market manager Borzen estimated in late 2012 that Slovenia needed around EUR 125m a year to sustain the renewables support scheme, a figure three times as high as the average EUR 42m collected in the years before.
The estimate led to the February increase, which has now been mitigated by the government.
The cabinet also tasked the Infrastructure and Spatial Planning Ministry to come up by 31 October with clear guidelines that would allow the functioning of the support scheme while keeping costs in check for businesses.