Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Public Hearing Held on Energy Bill

A public hearing on the Energy Bill was held today at the National Assembly House, under an Industry Committee Decision.


Opening the public hearing, Industry Committee Chairman Milorad Buha stated that the MPs have before them a systemic and strategically important Bill covering, in addition to the sphere of energy production, the fields of finance, industry and local self-government.

Milos Banjac, Assistant Minister of Infrastructure and Energy presented the main reasons for the adoption of the Bill, its goals, content and innovations it introduces. The main reasons for the adoption of the Bill are reflected in the regulation of new areas and relations in the field of energy production, assumed international obligations, as well as experiences in the implementation of the existing 2004 Energy Law so far i.e. the problems detected in its implementation. The Bill first and foremost aims to improve reliability, safety, quality and delivery, as well as supply; increase competence; promote energy efficiency and improve the conditions for sustainable development. The innovations contained in the Bill are a new energy policy reflected in the adoption of an energy development strategy for Serbia and national action plans for renewable energy sources; new energy production activities such as bio-fuels and defining energy production activities of general interest aimed at opening up the market. There will be innovations regarding the issuance of licenses, energy permits, and the Energy Agency’s role is also increased. Renewable energy sources, prices, right of third party access to electric energy and natural gas systems, as well as supply to the end beneficiaries received special attention, envisaging that from 2015 households may freely choose a supplier on the market. Summarising the presentation of the Energy Bill, Banjac stated that the adoption of the Bill continues the reforms in the energy sector, enables harmonisation with EU directives and creates an umbrella regulatory framework for development in the upcoming years. He added that before it was sent into assembly procedure the draft law went through four public debates and was commended by the European energy community.

The debate on the Energy Bill which included the MPs, Energy Agency representatives, representatives of the Task Group which worked on the text of the Bill, representatives of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, local self-governments, Belgrade electric plants, NGO sector, businessmen, representatives of the academic community and independent experts, drew attention to both the good solutions and flaws which should be removed in the adoption process. Opinions were exchanged and positions confronted as regards monopoly in the energy sector, authorisations the Bill confers to the Energy Agency, fees for the use of goods of common interest, strategies and national action plans, documents necessary to receive an energy permit etc.

Following the completion of the public hearing, Industry Committee Chairman Milorad Buha concluded that, with possible corrections, the Bill would result in a real law regulating the area of energy production.


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