Daily: Thousands opt out of universal electricity service

Electricity pylon.
Electricity pylon. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

While many customers hope for cheaper electricity prices under the universal service announced last month, thousands are opting-out of the service with a week left to do so, in the hopes of making more savings outside the scheme, daily Postimees reports.

Dajana Tiitsaar, head of domestic markets at state-owned generator Eesti Energia, told Postimees' English-language portal that: "To date, about 2,500 customers have withdrawn from the universal service offer," adding that around 2,000 customers who had not received the direct offer had joined the universal service on their own initiative – the company sent nearly 120,000 e-mails and around 11,000 printed letters to domestic customers Friday evening.

Of those turning down the universal service, some think that staying with a floating exchange package will be cheaper if they pay attention to their consumption levels, while others do almost the opposite and opt to stick with a fixed-price package at a little higher price levels as a hedge against the universal service potentially costing more later on, though newly-selecting a fixed-price package is not recommended at this point in time, Postimees says.

While Eesti Energia's price level of 19.24 cents per Kwh was widely reported when it was announced, the company does not have a monopoly on supply - 14 companies provide 97 percent of domestic electricity in Estonia, in fact, while the rates of around half of these are, in ascending order (figures in cents per Kwh): 19.11 (Electric Terminal OÜ), 19.15 (Eesti Gaas), 19.19 (AS Alexela and 220 Energia OÜ), 19.20 (Saku Maja OÜ), 19.24 (Eesti Energia AS), 19.69 (AS Elveso) and 19.72 (Elektrum Eesti OÜ).

The universal service electricity price is not fixed and may change as early as next month, Postimees adds, since Eesti Energia is in continuing negotiations with the Competition Authority (Konkurentsiamet), who set the price, with a view to raising it.

The original Postimees English piece is here.

The universal service price was hotly anticipated and announced Friday as a basic price set at 15.4 cents per KWh, to which VAT and suppliers margins had to be added.

The scheme only applies to domestic consumers as things stand, runs to April 2026 and as noted may be subject to changes.

Membership of the scheme is automatic for private domestic electricity account holders, and opting-out must be done proactively and in the next few days.

It is a wholly separate scheme from the energy support measures which apply automatically to domestic consumers from the start of this month to the end of March (though this support would also have to be applied to the basic universal price noted above to get the final figure to consumer).

A price of around 19 cents per KWh translates to €190 per MWh; hourly prices as high as €4,000 per MWh have been reported on the Nord Pool exchange in recent months.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Postimees

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