STA, 5 January 2021 - Slovenian companies have been sounding the alarm over high electricity prices for months, warning that production may become unviable for energy-intensive industries. One company, the fish processing firm Delamaris, has decided to suspend production for a week to weather the price spike.
Delamaris shifted collective leave from the last week of December to the first week of January, a move that Janez Rebec, the chairman of the parent company Pivka-Delamaris, says is a direct consequence of high electricity prices.
"Electricity has become drastically more expensive, going from EUR 70 per MWh to EUR 400 per MWh in December," he told the STA. "This took everyone by surprise." The price has since dropped and Rebec said it was now two and a half times what it had been.
Rebec told Delo newspaper that most food processing companies were in a similar position and would be forced to raise prices just to survive. He expects the company will shift higher prices onto consumers as of March.
The news comes amidst warnings by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry that the high electricity prices are untenable. It said in late December that forward prices for 2022 had exceeded 2021 levels by up to a factor of six.
The organisation has called on the government to take action, but Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek recently said that there was little scope for action save for a ban on the export of electricity, a comment that earned him sharp criticism from energy experts.
Commentators have pointed out that the government has several tools at its disposal, in particular reductions on the VAT rate and excise duties.