Kallas requests energy price scenario forecast from economy minister

Radiators (photo is illustrative).
Radiators (photo is illustrative). Source: ERR

The prime minister has requested forecasts of electricity and natural gas prices over the coming year from economic affairs minister Taavi Aas (Center), and has also requested information on what measures will be taken to mitigate the price increase.

In her written address, prime minister Kallas wrote: "Based on discussions, I can see the risk that electricity and gas prices for consumers will rise to much higher levels in the coming heating season than they did last autumn and winter."

Heating season is generally taken to run from October to March inclusive.

Kallas also wrote that last Friday, she had had a meeting with electricity and natural gas sellers operating in the Estonian market.

"I hope that you will be able to come up with effective and well-thought-through actions which will prevent any possible crisis arising from a rise in energy prices," the address continued.

Proactive measures must already be undertaken now, the prime minister added, and a public debate on the issue is needed.

The forecast should cover the next 12 to 24 months, Kallas added, and detail between three and five mitigation measures for each scenario, measures which would be both feasible and immediate in their effect.

The analysis must take into account the changes affecting both domestic and large consumers.

Andres Taukar, head of a lobby group for power stations and district heating (Jõujaamade ja kaugkütte ühing), told ERR's Vikerraadio Tuesday that forecasts for next winter cannot at this stage be made.

Assuming Russian natural gas will no longer be used from next fall, this can be replaced by substitute, along with the state gas reserve where needed.

Alternative sources could include the planned LNG terminal which would be located in Paldiski.

District heating plants which rely on or can use wood chips when generating heat will also be in a good position, he said.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications has announced an early warning on gas supply, which provides additional opportunities to secure gas supplies in a crisis situation in accordance with EU regulations.

The ministry, state-owned grid distributor Elering and private sector firm Alexela recently reached an agreement on the planned terminal, which would supply both Estonia and Finland via a floating terminal moored close to the port.

From last fall, record price levels in electricity, natural gas and district heating were set and re-set, prompting the Reform-Center coalition to initiate a support package aimed both at private citizens and at business.

District heating is simply hot water piped in to apartment blocks, with natural gas one of the main sources of energy. Sometimes hot water released as a by-product of power stations in eastern Estonia is also used.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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