VERBUND is ready to talk about liberalization deadline

4/6/2000Wien

In view of the opposition and the contrary opinions prevailing in the Austrian electricity industry, October 1, 2000, the deadline Dr. Martin Bartenstein, Minister for Economic Affairs, had in mind for a complete opening of the domestic electricity market can hardly be met.

This is also indicated in the expertise drawn up by Price Waterhouse Coopers on behalf of the Ministry for Economic Affairs, which was presented to the Austrian Electricity Industry Association (VEÖ) yesterday. According to the expertise "... using international experience, Austria will be able to realize the full liberalization in about two years", i.e. by mid-2002.

VERBUND is convinced that from the engineering standpoint the full liberalization would be possible by fall 2001 under optimal circumstances. As things are, however, the necessary legal basis is still unknown, and the provincial and municipal suppliers have failed to show the necessary “courage for the gap“ in the accounts so far.

Since the Ministry’s ambitious deadline can hardly be met against the opposition of many power suppliers, VERBUND has agreed to participate in a technical working group within the scope of VEÖ to work out an agreement on a deadline for the complete market opening. According to VERBUND, a jointly agreed date of opening will at any rate be preferable to a deadline that is not supported by all market participants, even this means a delay of a few months.

VERBUND is convinced that it will be essential to open the whole electricity market in one move, including the household clients, to prevent a prolongation or even an increase in the - partly massive - market distortions that have been caused by the different degrees of market opening so far.