Enefit: 2018 will change offers for energy consumers
Multiple pre-conditions to improve reviews of traders’ offers to create new, topical services for consumers will appear in Latvia’s energy industry, says Enefit board chairman Jānis Bethers. He notes that pre-conditions include energy efficiency duties, continued liberalization of the gas market for households and general increase of competition in the industry will finally allow Latvia to come close to a market model found in developed countries, where price is only one many factors that affect choice and consumers are able to receive more benefits than just energy for their household. In addition, from January onward a new stage will commence for the state energy efficiency policy. The Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme provides duties before the state for energy traders. Aside from other important requirements, energy traders will have to provide support to consumers to raise their energy efficiency. Because of that, it is expected that Latvian energy traders will expand their offers will new services, and prices will no longer be the deciding factor for competition, predicts Enefit chairman.
«The fact that every trader will decide to realize requirements detailed in rules may also affect the market. Traders able to offer more than just energy will have an advantage over their competitors. New services and solutions are possible in different fields, from energy efficiency assessment consultations to allocation of funding for introduction of energy efficient equipment and solutions,» says Bethers.
Continuing, he says that changes will allow consumers benefit some more from the open market. It is likely Latvia may experience a new market development stage in the next couple of years. It is important to mention that Enefit chairman said that even though the natural gas market has been open for only six months, growth rates in Latvia are already ahead of all previous predictions. «This is why 2018 will be a major challenge for traders, because the open market here is only in development stages. This means more opportunities to work on new offers and attract new clients,» said Bethers.
He notes that cancellation of regulated prices and the full opening of the market in January 2019 will definitely be interesting for most clients and traders. «Considering that gas consumption in households using gas heating is significantly above electricity consumption, this segment will play a major role for traders. Households’ activity is also expected to be higher, because purely costwise gas is much higher than electricity for those households. At the same time, this offers opportunities for integration of gas and electricity procurement offers, where the aforementioned energy-efficiency services will provide even higher added value.»
«With the next step for market development, we will see a new structural offer for gas transmission tariffs. Currently, gas transmission operators’ tariffs depend on the annual consumption volume, whereas in the future the structure of tariffs may employ the practice established on the electricity market, where there is a fixed and changing tariff part depending on the type of connection,» said Enefit chairman, commenting on expected changes for 2018.
He also mentions that a well-thought out market regulation will play a major role in gas market development to help balance the needs of consumers and traders and provide high market activity and accessibility to new market participants.