Measures to mitigate high energy prices
To manage high energy prices, the Government adopted measures to mitigate prices and measures for a reliable supply. Within the framework of the latter, a greater application of solar architecture throughout Slovenia is planned.
Measures to mitigate the high prices of energy products
The Government determined the maximum resale price of electric energy for households and small business customers, and defined the maximum resale price of natural gas for protected customers. By limiting the margin of all traders with petroleum derivatives, the Government limited the prices of oil and petroleum derivatives on the motorways and of the fuel oil. As of 1 November 2022, the maximum permitted resale prices of natural gas apply to households, common household customers, basic social services, kindergartens, primary schools, community healthcare centres, small business customers and households in the district heating system.
The Government set the maximum tariff item for the variable part of the heat price for the supply of heat from distribution systems where the heat distribution activity is performed as a public utility service, specifically for household customers at 98.70 EUR/MWh. It applied for the period from 1 January to 30 April 2023.
The maximum price for natural gas used to produce heat in heat distribution systems (district heating systems) and supplied to kindergartens, primary schools, essential social services institutions and health centres is set at 0.079 EUR/kWh.
The Government maintained a lower excise duty for electric energy and natural gas. For the period between 1 September 2022 and 31 May 2023, the Government lowered the VAT rate to 9.5 per cent for electric energy, natural gas, district heating and firewood. As of 1 September, a lower contribution for assuring support to production of electric energy from renewable sources and from cogeneration with high efficiency (RES + CHP contribution) applies.
The Government regulates the method of payment, the detailed conditions for proof and payment to beneficiaries and the detailed content of the online application for claiming the subsidy for persons who have a wood pellet heating installation and who have purchased wood pellets for their household heating between 1 September 2022 and 31 December 2022.
Aid for the business sector in 2022
The Government helped small, medium-sized and large enterprises between 1 June and 31 December 2022 by co-financing the costs of electric energy and natural gas above a double increase of their prices. The amount of support depended on a company’s changed situation as per the prices in 2021 and 2022. Small and medium-sized enterprises were eligible for support in the amount of up to 50 per cent of eligible costs and large enterprises up to 30 per cent of eligible costs. When proving operating loss, energy-intensive enterprises were able to apply for the reimbursement of up to 70 per cent of eligible costs; the highest amount of aid is EUR 2 million. The Government also earmarked EUR 6 million for favourable liquidity facilities for small and medium-sized enterprises affected by the crisis. The total estimated value of measures to help the business sector amounts to EUR 86 million. Slovene Enterprise Fund published a package of favourable crisis liquidity facilities in the amount of EUR 32 million. Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises experiencing liquidity problems due to the consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic or crisis situation relating to the energy supply will be able to obtain up to EUR 100,000 worth of favourable loans.
The Government determined the mechanism for setting the electricity price for large business customers, which are not among the beneficiaries of the maximum permitted retail price. The mechanism applies to contracts for the purchase of electricity, which will be concluded for 2023, i.e. until 31 December 2022.
The Government adopted the act proposal which, among other things, defines urgent measures to reduce energy import dependency (e.g. reduction of electricity consumption during peak hours), control of prices of energy and energy products, limit excess market revenue of electricity producers, and simplification of aid for new investments in renewable energy sources.
Aid for the business sector in 2023
For 2023, the Government has foreseen EUR one billion of aid for the economy due to high energy prices. It will subsidise the payment of high energy prices for the companies in the period between 1 January and 31 December 2023, although the scheme must first be approved by the European Commission.
The beneficiaries will be able to choose from five types of aid.
- With simple aid, the beneficiaries will receive a refund of 50 per cent of the eligible costs or up to EUR 2 million in total aid. Aid in agriculture will be lower, i.e. up to EUR 250,000 and up to EUR 300,000 in the fisheries sector.
- The amount of basic special aid will reach up to 50 per cent of the eligible costs and up to no more than EUR 4 million in total aid.
- Special aid for reduced economic performance may amount to 40 per cent of the eligible costs and up to no more than EUR 100 million.
- Special aid for energy-intensive companies may amount to 65 per cent of the eligible costs and up to no more than EUR 50 million.
- Special aid in special sectors will be able to reach 80 per cent of the eligible costs and up to no more than EUR 150 million.
In spite of meeting the entry threshold of 1.5 times for the aid, a beneficiary will not be eligible for the special type of aid if their price per unit of electricity in 2023 is lower than EUR 150 or EUR 79 for natural gas.
To receive the aid, beneficiaries will have to complete a digital application in the application of the SPIRIT Slovenia Public Agency, which represents a significant simplification of the procedure if compared to 2022.
Maximum energy prices determined
For 2023, the Government determined maximum retail prices of natural gas and electricity for public institutions, public commercial institutions, public agencies, public funds, municipalities, providers of state-approved educational programmes and providers of social care services, social care programmes and family support programmes.
The Government determined maximum retail prices of electricity for micro, small and medium-sized companies that are end consumers. This is applicable as of 1 January to 31 December 2023.
Co-financing of measures to preserve jobs
The Government also proposed two measures to preserve jobs, which will enable eligible employers to shorten working time or organise temporary layoffs.
Measures to improve corporate liquidity
The act proposal also anticipates favourable loans to improve corporate liquidity. The Slovene Enterprise Fund and the Slovenian Regional Development Fund will earmark EUR 30 million for favourable loans in 2023 and EUR 20 million in 2024.
Favourable loans will also be provided by SID banka, i.e. in the amount of EUR 150 million, which will be intended for investing and current accounts. SID banka will earmark approximately EUR 50 million to finance the activity of road transport operators during the energy crisis.
The Government also enabled more favourable taxation of the reimbursement of travel expenses to and from work.
Measures for security of supply
The Government adopted the legal basis for the adoption of temporary measures in the event of an increased risk in energy supply (a lower or higher risk level may be declared in case of disruptions in energy and gas supply) and measures for the security of energy supply. The Act governs the storage of gas, release of mandatory reserves of oil and petroleum products and exceptions when attaining efficiency indicators of the district heating system.
Measures adopted to reduce import dependency:
- promotion of self-sufficiency,
- the Government may limit the lighting and heating in public buildings and buildings where the public congregates,
- customers of natural gas have the right to not be connected to the natural gas distribution system if they use renewable energy sources for heating,
- customers who choose voluntarily to reduce their gas and electric energy consumption by 15 per cent will be rewarded.
The Government ensured mandatory and alternative gas supply for protected customers (households, kindergartens and schools, hospitals, secondary school and university dormitories, retirement homes, prisons, etc.), who could suddenly be left without a supplier or offer of a new supplier.
To provide for a stable gas supply, the Government adopted the guarantee act for obligations of the companies GEN energija, HSE and Geoplin to ensure their liquidity.
Careful management of energy products
The EU Council adopted the regulation on coordinated demand reduction measures for gas in the period from 1 August 2022 to 31 March 2023 by 15 per cent based on average consumption over the last five years due to the risk of further interruptions in the gas supply from Russia. The Energy Agency calls on the customers to use energy more rationally and seek solutions for replacing gas with other energy products.
To this end, we are drafting an action plan with various scenarios on how to abandon the use of natural gas of Russian origin by 2025.
For the state authorities to set an example, the Government bound the central state administration to rational use of energy: the premises are not cooled to less than 25 °C and not heated to more than 20 °C during the heating season.
Promotion of green transition
The Government’s objective is for all Slovenian households to be fully independent from fossil fuels in their energy supply by 2030 and have their own, long-term energy source. The Government plans a process of greater utilisation of solar power or to accelerate the construction of solar power plants in Slovenia. We are also preparing measures that will enable one third of Slovenian households to have access to community solar power plants.