Minister criticizes planned rise of electricity distribution tariff

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The planned increase in tariffs for electricity distribution and transmission operators is an "ill-considered step" that will negatively affect the competitiveness of the Latvian economy, the Minister for Environmental Protection and Regional Development Artūrs Toms Plešs told Latvian Television November 22.

As reported earlier by LSM, the electricity distribution system operator AS “Sadales tīkls” (ST) has submitted a new draft tariff to the Public Service Regulator Commission (SPRK), which provides for an average increase of 75% in rates.

He recalled that there were more than 10,000 households with solar panels in Latvia, and the largest hike in the installation of these panels took place this year when support for the production of such energy in households was planned.

“It is quite clear that, following these signals of a potential increase in tariffs from next year, this is likely to have a negative impact on the program and the range of state aid, as we are now seeing increased concerns about how households could be affected by this tariff,” the minister said.

According to the Minister, if the transmission network Augstsprieguma tīkls (AS) increased the rate to the extent proposed, the transmission tariff in Latvia would be one of the highest in the region, thereby undermining the competitiveness of the economy and entrepreneurs in Latvia.

“If this has been the year when we see a serious pick-up in the development of green energy, including on a wider scale, including in the development of wind parks, then these steps, in my opinion, are ill-considered at this point,” Plešs said.

The Minister said that he had so far not had the opportunity to discuss the planned increase in tariffs with the transmission and distribution companies. “I would certainly also expect more active action from the Ministry of Economics, which is responsible and working with these companies to the most direct extent because it is their field of activity,” the Minister said.

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