ENERGY AGENCY REGARDING OCTOBER GAS BILLS ...
Belgrade, November 18, 2008 – With regard to gas consumer complaints about October gas bills bypassing the recommendation of the Government, the Energy Agency asked the Ministry of Mining and Energy (MEM) to instruct Srbijagas to accept deferred payment not only for own household customers, but also for other distribution companies enabling them to revise bills for the relevant consumer category accordingly.
The Agency points out that this is practically the only efficient solution in the moment when bills are being sent out, as much as this is an unfavourable situation for Srbijagas.
The Agency also points out that the yesterday’s announcement by the Ministry’s spokesperson, requesting the regulator to exercise its powers in line with the Law which are in fact missing in this case, has caused confusion.
With regard to Agency’s competencies pertaining to price regulations, the payment method is not regulated in tariff systems and thus the Agency has no statutory entitlement to react. The Agency cannot implement the government decision on the reallocation of natural gas charge payment, nor can it access disputative bills of citizens and find applicable statutory solutions for indemnity.
This particular case refers to the implementation of the government conclusion, and not to the method of calculation pertaining to the tariff system, which would be in the domain of Agency’s competences.
In the past two months the Agency requested on two occasions other licensed natural gas distributors to submit their price proposals for the purpose of enabling government approval on the basis of a prior opinion of the regulator. Since it has no influence on the dynamics and quality of work of energy companies the support of the Ministry is needed. This request has been sent out once again today.
Bearing in mind, however, that distributors answer better an appeal of the regulator (the Agency adopted opinion on prices of two more companies last Friday), more than 90% of the natural gas retail market in Serbia is expected to be regulated by the year-end.