From 1 September 2012, the gas and electricity markets will be subject to an entirely new regulatory regime, reflecting the implementation of the EU’s third energy package into Slovakian law.
The aim of the changes is:
- liberalisation of the electricity and gas markets
- improved consumers rights
- increased powers and independence for regulatory authorities
- greater cooperation and solidarity between regions
This includes also some other duties exceeding requirements of transposed European legislation and respective regulations of public procurement to ensure that the performance of regulated activities within the energy sector is as objective and transparent as possible. For regulated entities this is in particular a requirement for approval to be obtained from the Regulatory Office for Network Industries for all contracts for services (or amendments to such contracts) for ensuring its regulated activity with an estimated value of more than €100,000 being entered into from 1 September 2012 between an entity carrying out a regulated activity within the gas or electricity industry and another entity within the same vertically integrated undertaking. The contract or its amendment will be invalid if prior consent is not obtained. The Office checks whether the new or amended contract terms are usual in the ordinary course of trade. Contracts for services entered into before 1 September 2012 must also be amended to comply with this requirement by 31 December 2013.
There is also a requirement for such regulated entities to award all contracts with an estimated value of more than €100,000 by public tender (under the Commercial Code), except where they are being awarded under the Act on Public Procurement. The estimated contract value is calculated using the methodology prescribed in the Act on Public Procurement.
When a regulated entity announces a public tender, it must:
- notify the Office without delay (in documentary or electronic form) of the tenders’ subject and terms
- disclose a list of all parties submitting tenders
- notify the Office in advance when and where the tenders will be evaluated, and
- notify the Office of the result of the tender process
Regulated entities which are not part of a vertically integrated undertaking must, when issued with a price decision, notify the Office (in documentary or electronic form) of each contract with estimated value of more than €300,000 no later than 30 days following its performance. It is not clear what is meant by the term “performance”.
A failure to do so is classed as an administrative offence, attracting a fine of between €500 and €10,000,000. For vertically integrated undertaking, the fine ranges from €500 to 10% of its turnover for year preceding the year in which offence was committed.
- Act on regulations in network industries of 31 July 2012
- Act no. 25/2005 Coll. on public procurement and on amending and supplementing certain regulations, as amended