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20 Oct 2021, 14:01 PM

STA, 20 October 2021 - The average electricity prices for households increased slightly in the first half of the year at the EU level compared to the same period in 2020 to EUR 21.9 per 100 kilowatt hours, with the largest increase recorded in Slovenia, Eurostat has reported.

The electricity prices for households increased in 16 member states, topped by Slovenia with a 15% rise, followed by Poland (8%) and Romania (7%).

On the other hand, the largest decreases were observed in the Netherlands (-10%), Cyprus (-7%) and Lithuania (-6%).

The household electricity prices in the first half of 2021 were the lowest in Hungary (EUR 10 per 100 kWh), and the highest in Germany (EUR 31.9). In Slovenia, it was EUR 16.62.

The average natural gas prices meanwhile registered a slight drop to EUR 6.4 per 100 kWh in the first half of 2021, as they fell in 20 of the 23 EU member states that report gas prices in the household sector. Slovenia recorded a drop of 7%.

The prices were the lowest in Lithuania (EUR 2.8 per 100 kWh) and the highest in the Netherlands (EUR 9.6). For comparison, the average gas price in Slovenia in the first half of the year was EUR 5.47 per 100 kWh.

16 Oct 2021, 12:31 PM

STA, 16 October 2021 - After Slovenia's largest energy company Petrol announced earlier this week that it will increase the price of electricity in December, some predicted that other suppliers would follow, but most suppliers now forecast that their prices of electricity for households would not increase until next year.

However, most companies also said that increases could very well happen in 2022, as purchase prices of electricity are rising, having increased by more than 200% on international markets in the last year.

Gen-I, Slovenia's largest electricity supplier with over 190,000 customers across Slovenia, told the STA that prices for their existing customers were to remain unchanged for now.

The same was said by ECE, the company created in a merger of Elektro Celje and Elektro Gorenjska, of which a 51% share was recently acquired by Holding Slovenske Elektrarne (HSE), the state-owned power company and the country's largest producer of electricity from renewable sources.

"Prices will remain the same this year, but we will be forced to increase them next year, unless there is a significant reduction in prices on the upstream markets," said ECE.

The Ljubljana-based Elektro Energija with more than 140,000 customers and Maribor's Energija Plus, which supplies electricity to more than 120,000 customers, do not plan to raise electricity tariffs this year either.

"However, given the recent increases in energy prices on global markets, which are at historic highs, it is realistic to expect a correction in electricity and natural gas prices in the future," they said.

This year has seen a sharp rise in energy prices predicted for 2022, 2023 and 2024. Electricity prices depend on many factors, including weather, carbon prices, supply, demand and political uncertainty.

The marginal price of electricity production has recently started to rise sharply and in early October, it exceeded the price of EUR 180 per megawatt-hour for next year in Hungary, the reference market for Slovenia.

According to current projections, the final amount on the electricity bill of the average consumer could be around 20% higher after the increase.

Energija Plus added that future prices would largely depend on other energy products, the availability of renewables, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the capacities of natural gas storage facilities in Europe and winter temperatures.

Reactions and debates on this matter followed Petrol's announcement on Tuesday that it will increase the price of electricity by 30% from December. The final bill for the average household customer is expected to rise by just over 10%.

The issue of the rising energy prices on world markets was also brought to the attention of the government this week. They explained that the situation in the markets was abnormal and the result of several different factors.

The Infrastructure Ministry has taken note of the proposals for action presented by the European Commission, which they deemed not needed in Slovenia as of yet. However, Slovenia has convened an emergency meeting of EU energy ministers for 26 October.

15 Oct 2021, 11:53 AM

STA, 15 October 2021 - The price of diesel at petrol stations along Slovenian motorways has reached a record high of around EUR 1.49 per litre as soaring global oil derivatives prices have spilled over into the Slovenian market.

The previous record price of diesel was in October 2018, when drivers had to pay EUR 1.464 per litre, show Economy Ministry price data.

Currently, the average price at petrol stations on the Slovenian motorway network is EUR 1.49.

Elsewhere in the country, diesel costs from EUR 1.402 to EUR 1.472 per litre, depending on the location and the provider, according to the fuel prices website goriva.si.

This means that the price of diesel at petrol stations outside of the motorway and expressway network increased by more than 44% since the liberalisation in October 2020, when both diesel and regular petrol cost around a euro per litre.

The price of regular petrol has increased by 33% on average since the full liberalisation.

The two largest retailers, Petrol and OMV, currently sell it at EUR 1.333 and EUR 1.334 per litre, respectively, outside the motorway network.

Regular petrol is even more expensive along motorways, with the current price set by the two providers at around EUR 1.389 per litre, which is nevertheless still below the of EUR 1.576 recorded in September 2012.

The Economy Ministry says it is closely following the situation in the market, noting that the prices in Slovenia are not much different than in other EU member states and are in line with forecasts made before the market was fully liberalised.

"The higher prices of fuel are not a consequence of price liberalisation, but of high prices of crude oil in global markets," the ministry told the STA on Friday.

Asked in what case the state would decide again to intervene in the market and how, the ministry said that the control mechanisms for detecting possible disputable practices were contained in the prevention of restriction of competition act.

It noted that the Competition Protection Agency was in charge of supervising the market, adding that it would intervene if it detected certain irregularities that would demand action according to the law.

14 Oct 2021, 16:58 PM

STA, 14 October 2021 - The government got acquainted with the current price trends in energy markets on Thursday and decided not to take any action for now. Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said there was no reason to panic. 

"Slovenia is on the safe side for now, but it is absolutely necessary to invest more in renewables and in new nuclear technologies," Vrtovec said after the cabinet session.

The government set up a task force led by Vrtovec to keep an eye on the situation. It also got acquainted with the toolbox of measures presented by the EU Commission yesterday to tackle high prices.

"It determined there is no need at this point for Slovenia to take any action. But if that is required, we are ready," he said.

The statement comes after energy group Petrol announced it would raise electricity prices by 30% and gas prices by 12% as of December.

A few weeks ago, a small electricity provider announced it was ceasing operations and urged customers to switch providers.

Asked about this, Vrtovec said the market was working: "Don't panic, switch the provider."

13 Oct 2021, 10:33 AM

STA, 12 October 2021 - Economist Velimir Bole told the Portorož Business Conference on Tuesday that the economic outlook for 2022 was relatively favourable, as the external factors were expected to calm down, including the growth in prices of raw materials. He nevertheless noted that events that trigger uncertainty could happen any time.

Short-term price expectations are very high, including in industry, construction sector and services, and only in commerce they are at ordinary levels, Bole told the first day of the two-day conference hosted by the publisher Finance.

The scientific advisor at the Economic Institute of the Ljubljana Faculty of Law added that short-term expectations regarding production activity and employment in industry and construction were at the 2016-2018 level.

The external factors of business are expected to calm down in 2022, and when it comes to global prices of raw materials, growth is expected to drop below 4% a year.

Bole said that the consensus forecasts of economic growth in the eurozone, Southeast Europe and Slovenia ranged from 4.2% to 4.6%.

Presenting the trends during the Covid-19 pandemic from March 2020 to the beginning of 2021, he noted that expenditure in Slovenia had increased at a higher rate than in the eurozone on average and in Southeast Europe.

However, this has not had as favourable effect on the gross domestic product (BDP) or social security, Bole said.

Comparative data on added value, employment and hours worked also show that the measures taken by the state, in particular subsidies to companies for workers who were not able to work, have not been very well targeted.

There was excessive support for industries that were not strongly affected by the closure of public life, while there was too little support in industries that were the most affected - commerce, transport, warehousing and hospitality, Bole said.

The economist noted the high increase in the general government sector debt. While he does not claim that high debt will not be sustainable in "normal" circumstances, it will be important how Slovenia will be perceived by investors.

The expected calming down of the growth in prices of raw materials reduces the probability of the European Central Bank "pulling the handbrake", i.e. introducing a stricter monetary policy. If it does, consequences will come quickly.

"Forecast for next year is favourable ... and debt will be sustainable if what happened in the eurozone, when mark-ups increased and the ECB started to intervene, does not happen here," Bole added.

According to him, an increased debt will reduce the potential of the state to support long-term technological restructuring as part of green transition and for some other major fiscal commitments, such as investments in healthcare.

12 Oct 2021, 16:08 PM

STA, 12 October 2022 - Most basic food products became more expensive in 2020, the year marked by the Covid-19 epidemic, the Statistics Office said on Tuesday in light of the upcoming World Food Day on 16 October. They added that price rises were the most substantial in apples (+35.4%) and minced meat (+22.8%).

Other basic foodstuffs that have recorded price rises in 2020 include a packet of 10 eggs (+9.8%), a kilogram of bread (6.6%) and a litre of milk (+4.1%). Meanwhile, the price of potatoes was down 18.9%.

Last year, the average Slovenian consumed 119 kilograms of vegetables, 116 kilograms of cereals, 88 kilograms of meat, 64 kilograms of potatoes, five kilograms of rice and one kilogram of honey.

The agricultural products self-sufficiency rate in Slovenia increased last year compared to 2019 for all products included in the Statistics Office's calculations, most prominently in honey and cereals.

The highest levels of self-sufficiency were recorded in eggs (95%) and cereals (89%), followed by meat (84%), potatoes (60%) and vegetables (48%).

Meanwhile, the most imported food products in Slovenia last year were vegetables and fruit, with a total value of EUR 488 million, the Statistics Office said.

The most valuable exports were dairy products and eggs, valued at EUR 250 million. The most food imports in value terms came from Italy, and the most exports went to Croatia.

Food manufacturing companies in Slovenia generated just under EUR 2 billion in sales last year, a decrease of 3.6% compared to 2019. Food production contributed 7.1% to the total manufacturing turnover.

12 Oct 2021, 09:58 AM

STA, 12 October - Petrol, Slovenia's largest energy company, will significantly increase the prices of electricity and natural gas on 1 December. The price of electricity is expected to rise by around 30% and of natural gas by 12%, with Petrol citing higher energy prices on international markets as the reason.

"We have recently witnessed exceptional conditions on the commodity and energy markets, where prices are reaching record high levels day after day," Petrol said when announcing the new price list last week.

According to media calculations, the price of electricity for households will rise by 21% to 35%, depending on the tariff. For small business consumers, prices will be around 30% higher, while the price of gas is expected to rise by 12%.

Prices of energy products to be delivered in 2022 have risen significantly in the last year: electricity by more than 175%, gas by almost 300%, oil by around 65% and emission allowances by more than 125%, Petrol added.

They pointed to last year's relatively long and cold winter, which depleted gas supplies across Europe, as one of the reasons for the situation.

The development of Covid-19 vaccines had reignited economic activity and energy demand, but supply has not been able to keep up, not least because of the poor production of electricity from renewable sources over the summer.

Natural gas supply also remains a major problem, with storage capacities being underused across Europe.

"Despite the turbulent market environment, we remain committed to offering a quality, reliable and affordable supply of electricity and natural gas," Petrol said.

"The new price list will apply for our residential and small business customers as of 1 December," the company added.

According to the newspaper Finance, other suppliers are unofficially expected to follow Petrol in raising energy prices soon.

11 Oct 2021, 12:48 PM

STA, 9 October 2021 - Lumar IG, a Maribor-based maker of prefabricated energy-efficient homes, increased its revenues by more than 6% to over EUR 19 million last year despite the epidemic and challenging conditions. The company ended the year with a net profit of EUR 1.4 million, almost double the figure of 2019.

According to the annual report of the family-run company, which employs 80 people, almost a fifth of its total revenue was generated abroad. Besides Slovenia, Lumar's most important market is Austria.

In addition, Lumar is also currently building its own sustainable housing units for sale on the market. Some of the planned projects in Galjevica, Domžale and Maribor are already underway and should be completed between 2021 and 2023.

In 2020, the company also undertook reorganising its business processes and the digitalisation of its operations.

CEO Marko Lukić wrote in the report that results are already partly visible in this year's sales, which will significantly exceed last year's.

Lumar is currently facing a huge increase in the price of all materials, most notably insulation, steel and especially wood.

08 Oct 2021, 12:08 PM

STA, 8 October 2021 - The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) has called on the government to take urgent action in the face of the sharp rise in energy prices, proposing a series of measures it says need to be taken immediately.

"We are in the midst of the biggest energy crisis to date, it's about survival. Immediate systemic solutions are needed," said Tibor Šimonka, the president of GZS.

Energy prices have recently seen a sharp rise, both in Slovenia and across the EU. According to GZS, the consequences will be felt by everyone, households and companies alike, but most of all by the energy-intensive industries.

The chamber has drawn up proposals for short and long term measures together with the Energy Industry Chamber (EZS).

Among the short-term measures, they propose the government reimburse the indirect costs of emissions, reduce contributions, and temporarily suspend the profits targets of state-owned companies.

Among the long-term solutions is the proposal to carry out the planned and ongoing projects related to energy efficiency and renewable energy as quickly as possible.

"Decisions should be taken immediately to provide appropriate energy infrastructure, which would support Slovenia's self-sufficiency in energy supply at competitive prices," the chambers said.

During Slovenia's EU presidency, the government should insist on the adoption of emergency measures at EU level as soon as possible, the appeal to the government reads.

Representatives of the industry have been warning for some time about the high rise in energy prices, as the price of electricity has doubled this year, while the price of natural gas has almost tripled.

The price hikes have been causing problems in energy-intensive industries in particular. The government has not proposed any measures to mitigate the price shock yet.

The Economy Ministry told the newspaper Delo that Slovenia will follow the positions of the European Commission, while Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj told the business daily Finance that VAT and excise duties would not be reduced.

06 Oct 2021, 16:41 PM

STA, 6 October 2021 - Representatives of farmers have warned that the situation in the Slovenian agriculture sector is worrying as inputs are more expensive while the prices of agricultural products are stagnating. The situation is worst in the production of livestock and milk.

"The situation in which agriculture has found itself in is seriously worrying," Janez Pirc, the director of the Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry (KGZS) told the press on Wednesday as he presented an analysis statistical data.

In addition to energy, the prices of inputs have increased significantly since the summer, with the prices of seed increasing on average by 39%, of fertilisers by 24%, of pesticides by 22%, and of fodder by 38%.

The buy-in prices did increase in plant production, but only marginally, while the yield was considerably lower due to frost, hail and drought, which means that revenue of farms is lower and does not enable investments in future production.

According to Pirc, the situation is even worse in livestock production, where the prices of key products (milk, beef, pork, poultry) have been practically stagnating for the last few years, while the prices of inputs have increased.

"These data show that the relationships in the farm-to-fork chain are not fair," added KGZS president Roman Žveglič, noting that farmers would not be able to invest in farms given such buy-in prices.

They will not be able to invest in upgrading machinery or in meeting the standards society expects from them, in particular in terms of animal welfare and environmental standards.

Žveglič stressed that farmers needed much more development funds, noting that EUR 123 million had been approved in the 2014-2020 rural development programme for higher productivity and technological development, with applications worth a total of EUR 70 million being rejected.

Under the strategic plan for the common agricultural policy for 2023-2027, EUR 60 million is expected to be available for this purpose. "This is too little, farms will stagnate," he assessed.

The chamber has estimated that an additional EUR 380 million would have to be earmarked for the 2023-2027 period, with part of these funds to be allocated for investments, agriculture in less favoured areas, environmental payments, and animal welfare.

The KGZS will coordinate requests for additional payments with other relevant organisations next week and send them to the government.

03 Oct 2021, 12:10 PM

STA, 3 October 2021 - Radeče has become the first Slovenian town whose town centre will be fully self-sufficient in terms of electricity as a solar system was installed on the roof of its community health centre on Friday.

This is after the Sonce company presented in August the first 100% electricity self-sufficient village, Zavrate, which is located near the eastern town of Radeče.

The PV system has the power of 112 kilowatts and is the first step towards Radeče's becoming the first fully self-sufficient town centre in Slovenia.

It will enable Radeče residents to use the renewable source of energy even without own investment thus cutting their electricity bills, Sonce said on Friday.

The new facility was inaugurated by Gregor Novak, a co-owner of the Sonce group and director of energy market SunContract, at a ceremony in Radeče.

He said today's event continued their efforts towards self-sufficient and climate neutral communities in Slovenia.

"There are still enormous opportunities to be tapped into in our country, which we will be able to do only by linking up and cooperating with key stakeholders."

Mayor Tomaž Režun said small municipalities were increasingly aware of the role of sustainable development, so Radeče had been encouraging projects based on renewables for several years now.

The project has also saved the municipality the money to renovate the roof of the health centre, which is also an advantage of such cooperation.

The self-sufficient community Soves Sonce Radeče Town is supported by SunContract, an energy market which links up energy users on the basis of blockchain technology.

It brings a new business model of green energy use for producers and consumers, enabling end-users to directly use energy and distribute the community's renewable source of energy.

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