Finance minister: Elektrilevi separation decision may come before elections
The planned separation of electricity network services firm Elektrilevi from generator Eesti Energia, which was decided in principle by the cabinet last August, may be finalized before the Riigikogu elections in March. However, Minister of Finance Annely Akkermann (Reform) said, that the separation process will most likely take longer to complete.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) criticized the delay in the separation of Elektrilevi, laying the blame with Eesti Energia. The following day, Eesti Energia's management board and supervisory board both rejected the prime minister's criticism in a statement sent to ERR.
According to Minister of Finance Annely Akkermann, Kallas's impatience is understandable, however, the criticism should instead have been aimed at the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, due to the delay in their jointly commissioned analysis of the potential Elektrilevi separation.
Akkermann explained, that former Minister of Finance Keit Pentus Rosimannus had been due to present the results of the analysis to the cabinet in October, however, Pentus Rosimannus has since departed making way for Akkermann and there has also been a change of leadership at Eesti Energia.
"I myself did not present the analysis to the government, in order that I could present to Eesti Energia's new board chair first, then go with them to the cabinet in January, in order to get everyone acquainted with one another," she said.
According to Eesti Energia, the analysis showed that the separation of Elektrilevi would not be in the interest of consumers, as it would lead to increased network charges. However, Akkermann said, that the results of the analysis suggest the move would still be reasonable.
The Minister of Finance explained, that in the long term, keeping Elektrilevi separate would not be any more expensive.
"The main message of the analysis for me, was that (separation) will not cost significantly more. It's not going to get cheaper, but it's also not going to get more expensive. As a result of the analysis, I was persuaded to keep Elektrilevi separate," said Akkermann.
According to Akkermann, the government may still decide on the separation of Elektrilevi before the spring elections, however the process will take longer to complete.
"I am afraid, that from a purely technical point of view, it will not be possible before the elections. I do think that a decision could be taken before the elections, but I am not certain whether it will be completed (by then)," said Akkermann.
Akkermann said, that the government's main task is to avoid distorting the market and the separation of Elektrilevi from the Eesti Energia group would certainly promote competition among electricity producers.
ERR contacted the Ministry of Finance to request an analysis of the planned separation of Eesti Energia and Elektrilevi. The ministry replied that the analysis would not be made public until after it had been presented to the government.
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Editor: Michael Cole