The President has signed the Energy Efficiency Act (the “Act”) which was adopted on 20 May 2016 by the lower house of the Polish Parliament. As mentioned in our Law-now eAlert on 18.03.2016 the Act will replace the current Energy Efficiency Act and will implement the provisions of Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU. The Act aims to positively affect low-energy investments and to decrease losses in the transmission and distribution of electricity, heat and gas.

The current support system of certificates of energy efficiency ("white certificates") will be modified. White certificates will be issued for selected projects supporting energy efficiency, upon an application, by the President of the Energy Regulatory Office, and not through a tender. Under the currently binding law, it is possible to issue white certificates for projects which have been performed in previous years. However, according to the Act, as a rule white certificates will be issued for new projects.

The Act includes a new obligation to conduct energy audits. This obligation will be imposed on enterprises which do not meet the criteria stipulated in the Act on Freedom of Business Activity referring to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Enterprises meeting specific conditions, such as having an energy management system specified in the relevant standards, will not be obliged to conduct energy audits. Energy audits will have to be carried out by the affected entities themselves or by external contractors within twelve months of the Act entering into force and every four years thereafter. A penalty, not exceeding 5% of the previous year’s turnover of a given enterprise, may be imposed by the President of the Energy Regulatory Office if an energy audit is not conducted.

The Act will enter into force on 1 October 2016.