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Over tenth of those eligible for universal electricity service opt out

Light bulbs.
Light bulbs. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Nearly 12 percent of 130,000 domestic electricity customers have so far opted out of the universal service rolled out at the start of the month, state-owned electricity generator Eesti Energia says, one day ahead of the deadline for doing so.

For many customers with a fixed-price package, remaining with their current contract may work out cheaper than going on the universal price going forward, while even those on packages tracking the Nord Pool exchange price may be able to obtain savings by carefully monitoring their electricity use versus the most expensive times of day.

Eesti Energia spokesperson Dajana Tiitsaar told ERR that: "Today, it is more reasonable for customers on a floating exchange package to switch to the universal service before winter. Customers who have the fixed package, whose price is fixed at the ceiling of 19-20 cents [per KWh] for a lengthy period of time time, should consider their options, because if you give up your current package, you cannot move back under the same conditions."

Eesti Energia's universal service is set at 19.24 cents per KWh, plus a two-euro monthly fee, from October 1, while just over a dozen competitors are offering similar prices.

Unlike energy support measures put in place by the government for heating season (to the end of March 2023), the universal service, which passed at the legislature, will be in place to March 2026, though the provisional deadline for optig out of the service is October 12, ie. Wednesday.

Tiitsaar said of the 130,000 domestic customers who received the universal service offer, 90,000 were on the floating rate package and 40,000 on a fixed rate.

This is in fact together only a third of Eesti Energia's domestic customers, simply because the remaining two thirds were already on packages which were cheaper than the universal price.

Those for whom the universal price is cheaper need to nothing to apply to join; they will be transferred automatically, it is simply opting-out which requires action – while joining the service at a later date is also possible.

Some fixed price customers may have opted-out even as the universal service price is currently cheaper, simply because it is likely to rise in the near future at Eesti Energia's behest; the current price set by the Competition Authority (Konkurentsiamet) is provisional.

Over 5,000 Eesti Energia customers went the other way also and joined the service even though they had not automatically received the offer.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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