Hungary insists on retail electricity prices regulated by member states in EU
Budapest (MTI) – Hungary insists that retail electricity prices should continue to be regulated by the member states rather than on EU level, the national development ministry’s state secretary for energy affairs said on Monday.
This approach, backed by several EU member states, goes against Brussels’ position, András Aradszki told a press conference.
Regulation by member states does not disturb the electricity market and is not in conflict with the EU treaties and the energy union. Competition should be maintained in the wholesale market and not among retail consumers, he said.
The energy union would put an end to the regulation of retail electricity prices by member states but the states would still be responsible for maintaining supplies, he added.
The Hungarian government disagrees with the plan and several member states, such as France and Slovakia, have also raised objections against a drastic and quick change. Between 2010 and 2015, retail electricity prices grew in all member states where they were regulated by the market, Aradszki said. The retail price of electricity in Hungary is among the lowest in Europe, he added.
It is another reason for concern that Brussels plans to restrict the right to choose the energy-mix. Different low-carbon energy production methods are not treated equally, with greater allowances granted for renewable energy than for nuclear energy, he said.
In response to a question about a Monday decision in Brussels affecting the Paks nuclear power plant upgrade project, he said it had been “legal nonsense” that the EU had earlier criticised Hungary for an absence of public procurement. Calculations by the government show that no state support would be needed for the upgrade, he added.