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Fri, 22 Jan, 2016 12:03:36 AM
FTimes Report, Jan 22

A Ministry of Employment and the Economy working group has proposed that the Natural Gas Market Act be reformed and the wholesale and retail natural gas markets be gradually opened to competition, said an official press release.

The head of the working group, Arto Rajala handed over its report to Economic Affairs Minister Olli Rehn on Thursday.

The proposal is focused on creating preconditions for opening Finland’s wholesale and retail natural gas markets to competition.

“By increasing competition and the number of alternatives for procurement it is possible to create conditions for a favourable development in the industry, and at the same time improve the security of Finland’s energy supply and reduce consumer prices,” said Rehn while receiving the proposal.

The Baltic connector gas pipeline as well as the investments currently under preparation in the gas infrastructure in the Baltic States and Poland will change the situation at the beginning of the 2020s, the report maintained.

According to the proposal, in connection with the opening of the natural gas market, the natural gas transmission grid would be unbundled from the sale of natural gas.

Another key aim is to improve the competitiveness of natural gas in the fuel markets and to lessen regulation concerning companies in the natural gas business.

The number of regulations that apply to the supply of natural gas would be reduced by giving up price regulation in wholesales of natural gas and by limiting sellers’ price regulation to natural gas supplied to small users and directly to residential buildings in retail.

Provisions on the entry of liquefied natural gas to the markets as well as access rights and tariffs regarding off-grid liquefied natural gas terminals would also be added to the Natural Gas Market Act.

The market access for biogas would be enhanced. It is also proposed that more detailed provisions on consumer rights and natural gas contracts signed by consumers be included in the act.

The act is expected to enter into force gradually from January 1, 2017.

The proposal includes a transition period estimated to last until 2020, during which the intention is to transfer to an opened market.

 
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