Lithuania says it will no longer enforce fixed-price electricity plans

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Lithuania says it will no longer enforce fixed-price electricity plans

The Minister of Energy Dainius Kreivys said that by choosing fixed-price plans customers had expectations that this would help predict expenses in the face of inflation, but they would no longer be able to do so because of the company's unilateral actions. The minister said that he would always be on the side of consumers and that their expectations must be met.

According to Kreivys, energy prices are high in many EU countries because of Russia's energy blackmail, but this is not a reason why the company should shift its business risks on consumers.

The Ministry of Energy reminded consumers that they can always change the electricity supplier and urged other market participants to offer attractive fixed-price plans.

The Ministry said that consumers who took part in the first and second stages of the liberalization of the retail electricity supply market could reject the conditions proposed by Perlas Energija and demand that the company fulfill the conditions of the agreements, while they can terminate the agreements if this is not done.

Those who participate in the third stage of the liberalization of the retail electricity supply market may return to public electricity supply without any repercussions.

In turn, the VERT later stated that independent electricity suppliers could propose to change the agreement conditions by replacing fixed-price plans with variable-price plans determined directly by the power market. Clients have to express their disagreement or agreement in writing about changes to the plans.

The VERT notes that consumers have the right to respond within 30 days in writing or by e-mail to the electricity supplier's decision to change the conditions of the agreement, and can either agree or disagree with the new conditions. If consumers disagree with the new conditions, they have the right to terminate the agreement. If a person expresses disagreement with the new conditions but does not terminate the agreement, the original conditions agreed by the sides remain in effect.

The VERT stated that it will take all necessary measures to safeguard consumer rights and legal interests if it discovers that UAB Perlas Energija or other suppliers abuse their positions as regards changing agreement conditions.

Prime Minister Ingrida imonyt described the situation as regrettable but solvable, speaking to the public broadcaster LRT on Saturday. The company overestimated its abilities, but consumers are not required to agree to changes proposed by the company, as pointed out by the regulators. She said people have several options, one of which is to change the electricity supplier.

Lithuania undertook the liberalization of the retail electricity supply market as part of the Lithuanian Electricity Market Development and Implementation Plan.

The first phase of the liberalization was completed at the end of 2020, for clients consuming more than 5,000 KWh of electricity per year.

The second stage, for clients consuming 1,000 - 5,000 KWh of electricity per year, began in July 2021 and by 1 July 2022 consumers had to choose an independent electricity supplier.

The third stage, for clients consuming less than 1,000 KWh of electricity annually, will be completed in December 2022.