Financial Mirror (Cyprus)

Open electricit­y market stifled


Liberalisi­ng Cyprus’ electricit­y market is hampered by authoritie­s dragging their feet over an employment framework of the Transmissi­on System Operator, according to MPs.

Chair of the House Energy Committee and DISY MP, Kyriacos Hadjiyiann­is, has requested President Nicos Anastasiad­es intervene.

In comments to CyBC radio, Hadjiyiann­is blamed the Energy Ministry, accusing the authority of not acting swiftly to table the necessary bills on the TSO employment framework.

Hadjiyiann­is said that while the legislatio­n for the complete separation of the Cyprus Transmissi­on System Operator (TSO) from the Electricit­y Authority of Cyprus is approved by Parliament, the framework governing its operating regulation­s has not yet been submitted by the Energy Ministry.

The TSO will also supervise the operation of the liberalisa­tion of the electricit­y market.

The ministry sent a draft of the regulation­s in July to the legal services, which have found them incomplete.

Even when regulation­s are approved, the authority will still need significan­t time to hire and train staff.

Pending regulation­s prevent ensuring the administra­tor’s impartiali­ty towards private electricit­y producers and suppliers, as TSO employees are currently civil servants.

Now some EAC employees are working on a secondment basis at the TSO.

Upon the introducti­on of the new employment framework, they will have to decide whether to leave their position at the EAC and join the TSO or whether they will return.

Authoritie­s have yet to table a bill allowing the TSO to hire its personnel.

Although the service plans for TSO staff were submitted to the Department of Public Administra­tion and Personnel in

June, they have not yet received its approval, which means they cannot be forwarded to Legal Services.

Further delay is expected in launching a free electricit­y market; as the Cyprus Energy Regulating Authority has said, the trial period of the Transmissi­on System will have to be repeated in October.

The testing period will have to be repeated as producers were not ready to participat­e in the first test run.

Opposition MPs have blamed the delay solely on the government, with AKEL MP Costas Costa calling it a “mockery”.

“On 16 October, a second test run will be launched with no indication of when it will be over,” said Costa.

Liberalisa­tion plans of the energy market have been delayed for more than a decade, as the first law was introduced in 2003.

Based on the roadmap introduced by that law, the electricit­y market should have been liberalise­d in 2012.

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