Proposed amendment to the Slovenian Energy Act – what to expect

Proposed amendment to the Slovenian Energy Act – what to expect

The Government of the Republic of Slovenia recently put forward an amendment to the Slovenian Energy Act. The amendment will not only implement reforms made necessary by European legislation, a decision of the Slovenian Constitutional Court and the Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy, but also introduce new and innovative solutions in the energy sector.

What are the proposed amendments and what will be their consequences for Slovenian consumers and Slovenian companies?

One positive aspect of the proposed legislation is its prohibition of certain unfair and misleading (business) practices as carried out by intermediaries. Such intermediaries include door-to-door sales people and commercial agents when acquiring new clients and, consequently, the prohibition offers increased protection for consumers. This proposal is a response to the widespread and often quite aggressive practices of such door-to-door sellers in Slovenia, who may rely on unfair tricks, including misleading consumers as to their identity and/or the nature of the agreement to be concluded.

The amendment act also introduces the new “aggregator”, a key future actor in the sector. The aggregator will use specific knowledge and software to act as an intermediary, combining multiple customer loads or generated electricity for sale, for purchase or auction in any organised energy market.

Another positive advantage for consumers is the possibility of achieving so-called “community self-sufficiency” using renewable energy. In this way, co-residents in apartment buildings may benefit from such self-sufficiency without its being regulated as a business activity.

Under the proposed bill, companies will assume additional obligations in the energy area. Particular mention should be made of the obligation on the owners or tenants of any building to obtain an energy performance certificate, where such building is frequently visited by the public. This is regardless of whether the building is owned or used by the public authorities. Moreover, large organisations will be required to perform and report an energy audit every four years.

Last but not least, following the recent decision of the Slovenian Constitutional Court, the proposed bill adds a process of claim to obtain compensation for the use of a property for construction works related to energy infrastructure in the period between the actual use of the property and the issuance of the decision on the expropriation, the establishment of the servitude of public benefit or the right of possession over the property in expropriation proceedings.

The proposed amendments are promising but it is still too early to predict the final outcome as the bill has yet to pass the legislative stage.