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Senate agrees to open Czech Energy Markets by 2007

The Senate approved an amendment to the energy law which will liberalize the electricity and gas markets in the Czech Republic by 2007.

The Senate sent the law back to the Chamber of Deputies to change the date it would take effect. The bill, which must still be signed by the president, should have entered into force on December 1. The Senate wants the law to take effect the day it is published in the Collection of Laws.

Under the terms of the amendment, large firms will be able to choose their gas supplier as of January 2005. A year later, the market will be opened to smaller firms. The entire market is to be fully liberalized by the end of 2006.

The electricity market has already gone through three stages of liberalization, with full liberalization also scheduled for completion in 2006.

The amendment also calls for the separation of transmission and distribution networks on electricity and gas markets by 2007. The national power company CEZ estimates the costs of separation at CZK 2 bn to CZK 3 bn.

The deadline for full liberalization of energy markets in the EU is mid-2007.

(Interfax 26.xi.04)

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