Latvia officially opens its gas market
The amendments to the Energy Law providing for the opening of Latvia’s gas market took effect on April 3, 2017.
Legal entities will have to pick a new natural gas supplier by June 15, 2017, but households will not be required to choose a new gas supplier or to pay the market price for natural gas. The households which elected to keep buying gas from the existing supplier, Latvijas Gaze natural gas utility, would receive gas at a regulated price determined by the regulator until 2019.
Altogether, 15 companies had registered with the regulator as gas suppliers by March 31. They included Latvian companies Latvijas Gaze, Latvenergo, Enefit, AJ Power Gas, ESK Sistemas, Euro Energo Company, Frenzo, GEG, Latvijas Propana Gaze, Rigas Gaze, Scener, Daugavpils Siltumtikli and WIN Baltic, as well as Lithuanian companies Lietuvos Duju Tiekimas and Litgas.
The Economics Ministry said that the liberalization of the gas market is intended to make the sale and distribution of natural gas as simple and easy as possible. For that reason, gas consumers will be offered a solution where all client service operations are provided by the gas supplier, which will ensure one supply agreement, one gas bill and one service office. The distribution system operator will be in charge of the gas distribution system’s technical aspects. A similar solution is already being used on the Latvian electricity market.
The Economics Ministry said that the free gas market creates preconditions for fair competition among gas suppliers who will ensure better service quality and wider choice to all consumers of natural gas. The opening of the Latvian gas market will increase the security of gas supplies and the Latvian energy sector’s independence, as well as strengthen the EU’S single natural gas market