Temporary Latvenergo board quits after less than two weeks in charge

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The interim supervisory board of Latvia’s Latvenergo energy company that was appointed by Economics Minister Ralfs Nemiro (KPV LV) on June 19 resigned July 1 after less than two weeks, reported the LETA newswire.

Pavels Rebenoks, chairman of the Latvenergo supervisory board, said in a statement to the press that he had informed Nemiro about all board members’ decision to stand down as they “do not deem it possible to perform their functions under existing political pressure”.

“The board indicates that after several politicians’ public statements it has become an “inconvenient board” and does not deem it possible to fulfill the task given by the shareholder – the Latvian state – to reduce electricity bills for residents and businesses, which was one of the main reasons for recalling the previous board,” Rebenoks said in his statement.

“The interim board is aware that its decision to resign may affect the ongoing work on reducing the electricity bills as well as Latvenergo group’s decision-making until a permanent board is appointed. However, in the current tense atmosphere the board does not see any other option but to resign,” he said.

Rebenoks dismissed claims about the interim board’s own political connections, stressing that it included professional experts and that several of them had already participated in the Economics Ministry’s workgroup on cutting electricity tariffs.

Nemiro said in an interview with LNT TV channel that Rebenoks had informed him on Monday morning that the entire interim board is standing down under political and public pressure. The Economics Ministry’s state secretary Eriks Eglitis, as a representative of the Latvenergo shareholder, is taking over as acting board member.

Nemiro also said that work is under way to call a new tender to select a new Latvenergo supervisory board. The minister said the new Latvenergo board might be appointed in a couple of months.

As reported, at the beginning of this week Karins issued a resolution asking the economic minister to explain by the end of the week his decision to recall the previous Latvenergo supervisory board and replace it with an interim board.

Last Friday, Nemiro provided clarification to Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) about the reasons that led to his decision to recall the supervisory board of the state-owned energy company Latvenergo, the economics minister’s representative Beata Jonite told LETA.

Jonite informed that Nemiro met with the prime minister today to explain the reasons for recalling the Latvenergo supervisory board, the Economics Ministry’s report on the evaluation of the board’s performance, as well as the appointment of the interim board. Details of the report have not been made public though.

“The prime minister today will be sent the explanatory report which contains conclusions about the board’s unsatisfactory performance and slow work on reducing distribution tariffs, as well as about non-compliance with the OECD’s principles of good governance, because the board was not apolitical,” Jonite said.

She said that Nemiro has not changed his position and maintains that in recalling the previous Latvenergo board he acted in accordance with the law, in public interests and in good faith to uphold the principles of good governance.

As previously reported by LSM, Economics Minister Nemiro dismissed the Latvenergo supervisory board on June 19, replacing it with an interim board.

Latvenergo is a state-owned company and the shareholder is the Economics Ministry. The shareholder’s interests are represented by Economics Ministry’s state secretary Eriks Eglitis.

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