Latvian, Lithuanian Electricity Producers Holding Back Estonia, Says Minister ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

With an increasingly critical tone, Minister of Economic Affairs Juhan Parts yesterday floated the question of whether Estonia should even share a common electricity market with Latvia and Lithuania.

Speaking at a government press conference on Thursday, the minister said he was puzzled by the disparity in Baltic and Nordic trading prices. He said he was not satisfied by industry explanations for Tuesday's dramatic spike in electricity prices in the Baltic trading area of Nord Pool Spot.

"Perhaps until the market has finished developing it is not in Estonia's interest to be 100 percent in the same market area with Latvia and Lithuania. I haven't asked this publicly, but we need to ask this,” Parts said.

A shortage in suppliers due to seasonal factors and major maintenance projects could be fixed with better coordination or legal reforms, he said.

Still, he said, there is no alternative to the open market, because otherwise there would be no investment.

"Estlink 2, the Lithuanian-Polish link, the Lithuanian-Swedish link are all currently in the investment stage, which we would not have achieved without a common electricity market,” Parts said.

On Tuesday, the price of electricity in the Baltic trading area jumped to 103 euros per megawatt hour, much higher than in the neighboring Nordic countries. The rate eased to 64.62 euros on Wednesday and inched up to 70.92 euros yesterday.

Fingers have mostly been pointed at Latvian and Lithuanian producers, which have a lower summertime power output, thus increasing demand.