29 of June 2019 is the effective date of the act on adjustment of excise tax and selected other acts. Though this name does not mention anything about growing energy prices, it is very important to entities which would want to benefit from the so-called “freezing” of electricity prices at 2018 levels. There is only one week left for submitting all the necessary documents.
The past year was dominated by growing energy prices and government’s actions to protect the Poles from the increase of electricity prices and fees. The whole havoc resulted from growing prices of carbon emission allowances. This resulted in such a significant growth of black energy prices that, given cheaper and cheaper RES technologies, it was cost-effective, particularly to large producers, to produce green energy without having to participate in RES auctions.
The abovementioned act provides that electricity sellers will set energy prices and fees at levels applied as of 31 December 2018, defined in the tariff approved by the Energy Regulatory Office President, or at least not higher than energy prices and fee rates as of 30 June 2018 set for the end consumer in other manners, e.g. in custom negotiated agreements.
The obligation to apply 2018 prices and fees will be binding for the entire 2019 for all end consumers who collect power of up to 1 kV for housing purposes not related to business activities. The act lists collection of power by: households, household utility rooms, rooms in blocks of flats, apartments of diplomatic and foreign countries’ representations, cottages, camping houses and garden houses in allotment gardens, as well as for the purpose of building lightings, powering of elevators in residential buildings, heating grids and water pump rooms and garages – on condition that no business activities are performed in these places.
Price freezing for the entire 2019 also applies to micro-enterprises, small enterprises, hospitals and public entities. To be able to benefit from the frozen prices one must, within 28 days upon the act on adjustment of excise tax and selected other acts comes into force, i.e. by 26 July 2019, file a declaration with their energy provider, on an official form, stating that they are a micro-enterprise or a small enterprise or they use electricity for residential purposes listed above. One must remember that such a declaration is submitted under pain of penal liability and thus, it may not be submitted by a proxy, but only in person, by individuals, or by authorised representatives, in the case of companies.
Is this the only obligation? This cannot be stated with an utmost certainty. When reviewing legal regulations on energy, one may spot that acts frequently refer to regulations the adoption of which is often postponed. This is also the case here. The Energy Minister, in a regulation, shall specify the scope of information a domestic end consumer will be obligated to present to their energy provider. When will the Minister do it? We do not know that. So, if we want to enjoy prices of electricity at rates valid in 2018, by 26 July 2019 we must file a declaration on an official form. It is also worthwhile to regularly read the Journal of Laws not to risk failing to fulfil our obligations. If you have any questions about the freezing of energy prices, you are most welcome to contact me.
Author: Piotr Szwarc, Attorney at law, renewable energy expert