New Gas Supply Act (»Act«, »ZOP«)

In September 2022, the new Gas Supply Act came into force.

The adoption of the new law is a consequence of the changed operating conditions of the gas industry, the increased risks in the gas supply chain, and the new European Gas Regulation on gas storage (Regulation (EU) 2022/1032 of the European parliament and of the Council of 29 June 2022 amending Regulations (EU) 2017/1938 and (EC) No 715/2009 with regard to gas storage).

The amended law supplements the definitions of specific terms and introduces new ones.

Since the household consumers are entitled to special treatment from suppliers and special protection rights, the term »household consumer« has been amended and the limit of expected annual gas consumption (100,000 kWh) is now more clearly defined. This is to eliminate the various interpretations of the old definition.

With the new terms “basic supply customer” and “common household customer” added, basic supply rights are further excluded from commercial systems, such as district heating systems with gas as the primary energy source.

»Basic supply customer« is a household customer, a small business customer, a joint household customer and a protected customer as referred to in Article 117 of the Act, who is connected to the distribution system.

»Common household customer«, meanwhile, means the final household customer who purchases gas for heat supply to households through individual and common parts of multi-apartment buildings via a common heating installation owned or co-owned by those households (gas heaters in multi-dwelling buildings). For the purposes of this provision, the final customer shall not be deemed as a district heating provider.

Furthermore, the Act introduces the new term “substitute gas supply“. Substitute gas supply is intended to replace a supplier if a customer of the basic supply is unexpectedly left without a supplier due to the supplier’s insolvency or illiquidity, or because the supplier no longer fulfills the conditions for membership of the balancing scheme. For such situations, the law provides for an automatic transfer of the customer on the distribution system from the existing supplier to the supplier of the alternative supply.

The customer must conclude a supply contract with the new supplier no later than two months after the start of the substitute supply. The gas price for the substitute supply may be higher than the market price for the gas supply to a comparable customer. Still, it may not exceed the marginal purchase price for gas on the balancing market published by the transmission system operator, plus 25 %. The Slovenian Energy Agency has a statutory obligation to appoint one replacement supplier from among all suppliers to final customers.

The Act further provides that basic gas supply is the entitlement of all customers and must therefore be provided by all suppliers to all basic gas supply customers who do not have or cannot obtain a supplier. The price of gas for basic supply is determined by the supplier based on the characteristics of consumption by consumers of basic supply and the billing period, whereby the price of gas for basic supply may not exceed the threshold or, depending on the billing period, the average marginal purchase price of gas on the balancing market, published by the transmission system operator. 

 

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Law firm Sibinčič Novak & Partners
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