Thursday, 21 October 2021

Electricity and Gas Prices Won't Go Up Until Heating Season Ends, Says Prime Minister

ZAGREB, 21 Oct 2021 - Electricity and gas prices for Croatian households and "a huge share" of businesses will not increase until the end of the heating season early in April, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday.

The only ones that could feel the increase are businesses that did not have long- but short-term gas supply contracts, he added.

He was speaking to the press in Brussels as he arrived at an EU summit that will discuss the surge in fuel prices, among other things.

Plenković said the government had various tools at its disposal that it would use depending on developments with energy prices.

For now, the government has limited the maximum prices of petrol and diesel. "Thereby we stabilized expectations over the next month to see how the situation with oil prices will develop and in that way cushion any blow to households."

He said that after the government's abundant help to businesses during the pandemic and now that conditions had been created for the economy to rebound strongly, he did not wish living standards to be in jeopardy.

Rule of law

The EU summit will also address the rule of law after the Polish Constitutional Court found that in some elements national law is above European law, which was roundly criticized in the EU.

Plenković said it was necessary to first hear out Polish Prime Minister Mazeusz Morawiecki, who sent a memo to all member states' leaders, explaining what the court really decided.

"It's important that the EU does not divide because in times of crisis it's good for it to be as homogeneous as possible. But, on the other hand, when we were entering the EU, we too had to change our constitution quite a lot in order to align with the European legal order. Therefore our position is that we should honor all that we agreed to when we entered the EU."

The summit will also address the COVID situation, foreign relations, migration, trade, and the digital society.

Plenković said the situation in Croatia's neighborhood would be discussed tonight as a continuation of the EU-Western Balkans summit held earlier this month.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Minister Rules Out Household Electricity and Gas Price Hikes in Next Months

ZAGREB, 30 Sept 2021 - Economy Minister Tomislav Ćorić said on Thursday that the prices of electricity and gas for households would not rise in the next few months, and added it was good news ahead of the start of the heating season.

Household energy price hikes spreading in Europe will not spill over to us in the next few months, Ćorić said before the start of the cabinet meeting in Zagreb.

The minister expects the gas prices to be stable until April 2022 when the gas heating season ends.

Households should not expect a rise in gas prices until 31 March, he said.

Ćorić expects stability in electricity prices in the next months in Croatia.

The government has some space for maneuver when the prices should be determined, he added.

After the escalation of the situation in this segment over the recent months globally, the Croatian minister expects it to calm down.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Household Electricity Prices Won't Go Up This Year

ZAGREB, 22 Sept, 2021 - Economy Ministry state secretary Ivo Milatić said on Wednesday that electricity prices for households would not increase this year.

"You heard (power provider) HEP's clear statement that this is not being considered by the end of the year," he told Davor Dretar of the opposition Homeland Movement, who asked if electricity prices for households would go up this autumn.

Dario Zurovec of the opposition Fokus asked if arise was expected in a year's time given the turbulence on the world market.

Milatić said that if prices were corrected next year, the corrections "will not be as in neighbouring markets."

He said that if electricity prices continued to increase, some corrections would be inevitable, but added that Croatia was in a different position as 60% of the total energy production was renewable, with half of that from the hydro potential.

Household electricity prices won't be raised for political reasons

Mirela Ahmetović of the opposition SDP said household electricity prices would not be raised for political reasons but that they would be for businesses and that this would affect households through more expensive goods.

She said Croatia imported almost 35% of electricity and that this made it dependent on galloping prices.

Milatić said Croatia was in a "good position" with regard to the price of electricity and would stay there.

Croatia ranks 26th among 33 European countries when it comes to household and 21st when it comes to corporate electricity prices, he said, adding that refunds for energy poor citizens would increase if the price of energy they could not pay went up.

He also said that significant funds were envisaged to co-finance the construction of charging stations for electric cars.

Milatić said Croatia had a number of power providers, with HEP's companies holding 80% of the market. This is good, he said, as Croatia is not as affected by prices as some other countries.

MPs were debating an electricity market bill which envisages transition to clean energy and transposes an EU directive on common rules for the electricity market. One of its main novelties is that Croatian households will be able to buy electricity from a provider in any other EU member state and their citizens will be able to buy it from HEP.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Economy Minister Tomislav Ćorić: No Reason at the Moment for Electricity and Gas Price Hike

ZAGREB, 8 Sept, 2021 - Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Ćorić said on Wednesday that he does not see any reason that would lead to higher electricity and gas bills for citizens.

Asked ahead of an inner cabinet meeting whether electricity and gas bills would increase, Ćorić said that he did not see any reason at the moment for that to happen.

"There is no absolute certainty that that won't occur, however, I do not see any reason for it to happen," he said.

In reference to an electricity price hike for enterprises, Ćorić said that one needs to be aware of the fact that the domestic electricity market is liberalised and functions in line with European and global markets.

"Those enterprises who concluded long-term contracts last year will not feel the price hike in the coming period, however, those enterprises which are doing that now will feel the adjustment on the market," he underscored.

The assumption is that many enterprises have protected themselves against unexpected changes and Ćorić doesn't believe that the price hike for electricity will be as high as 40% as reported in the media over the past few days, however, he added, a certain adjustment in prices will occur.

"This tells us that business conditions need to be stabilised, that is to avoid certain risks, and that can be achieved so that prices are agreed for a longer period," said Ćorić.

Asked whether entrepreneurs who didn't manage to conclude long-term contracts would transfer the higher cost to its consumers by increasing the price of their products, Ćorić said that the price of electricity is one of the key inputs in production which directly results in an increase in the cost of production.

"You either have to decrease your margin or increase the price of your product. That is how the market functions," he concluded, adding that those enterprises which were astute and contracted the price of electricity can now provide more competitive products.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 18 January 2021

Quake-Affected Households Won't Pay Electricity, Heating Bills, TV Licence Fee

ZAGREB, 18 January, 2021 - The government on Monday decided to exempt households in Sisak-Moslavina County, hit by a devastating earthquake on 29 December, from paying electricity and heating bills for January, February and March as well as from paying the TV licence fee.

Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Ćorić said that in January, February and March the state-owned HEP power company would not charge for electricity people whose houses were damaged by the quake and that it would also not charge them for connecting their temporary housing units and later reconnecting their rebuilt homes to the power grid.

As for people who use the services of a power supplier other than HEP, they will not be charged for distribution and transmission costs, said the minister.

The same measure will apply to households in the case of heating bills.

In a Twitter post after the government session, Ćorić said that he had called on other companies to join in the write-off of utility bills since a part of the households in the quake-hit area use their services.

Answering a reporter's question, he said that four companies provided power in Sisak-Moslavina County, including HEP, and that three operated in the quake-hit areas.

Quake-affected households exempt from paying TV licence fee 

The government also decided that in order to help alleviate the consequences of the 29 December earthquake, the HRT public broadcaster should not collect the TV licence fee from quake-hit households for the first three months of this year.

HRK 25m in emergency aid for repair of county and local roads

The government also decided to allocate HRK 25 million in emergency aid for the repair of county and local roads in Sisak-Moslavina County, and the amount will be secured by the HC road operator.

According to preliminary estimates, damage caused to state, county and local roads in Sisak-Moslavina County totals HRK 57 million, without VAT, said Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butković.

HRK 1.5 mn for fodder

Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković said that her ministry would allocate emergency aid in the amount of HRK 1.5 million for the purchase of fodder for the next 30 days in order to enable the continuation of animal husbandry in the quake-hit areas.

She said the biggest problem at present was the lack of concentrate and compound feed.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Croatia: Electric Companies Offer Solar Panels for Homes

Electricity from the sun: an initial investment of HRK 35,000 (4700 EUR) will pay for itself within six to eight years! The benefits of investing in a solar power plant on the roof of a single-family home in Croatia are up to 75 percent lowered electricity costs and will protect the buyer from rising market prices.

As Dubravko Grakalić/GlasIstre reports on November 19, 2019; alternative energy is becoming less and less of an alternative, and more commonplace for our households and small businesses. Croatia's two largest electricity companies, HEP and RWE, have begun offering to install solar power plants on rooftops of single-family homes or businesses so that Croatian citizens and residents can generate electricity for their own needs. Interested households can easily arrange with their respective electric providers to become energy self-sufficient.

Simplified Procedure in Croatia

Due its geographical location and number of hours of sunshine a year, Croatia offers considerable potential for harnessing solar energy, experts say, and emphasize that less than one percent of all electricity is currently produced from photovoltaic systems. In early 2019, with the adoption of the Renewable Energy and High-Efficiency Cogeneration Act; self-supply electricity is now regulated by legal norms and the process has been greatly simplified. This legislation has paved the way for Croatian households to make the most of the sun's energy for their own benefit and makes the use of solar power plants more accessible to everyone.

- The simplified procedure for issuing energy approvals enables citizens to become self-suppliers by having their own solar power plant installed, which will meet most of their electricity needs; even up to 75 percent. This offer applies primarily to households and small businesses within the tourism, hospitality and trade sectors, says Zoran Miliša, CEO of RWE Energija Croatia.

Setting up a solar power plant does not pollute the environment. And it produces electricity from sunlight, a renewable energy source, which is a safe and low-risk investment, according to the companies offering solar power plant installation to customers.

The benefit of investing in solar power plant on the roof of a single-family-home is up to 75 percent lower electricity costs and will protect the buyer from rising market prices. The repayment period is estimated at six to eight years. RWE Energija's solar power plant installation offer includes a 25-year warranty and 10 years of insurance. Customers can expect to have their power plants installed within 90 days and the installation itself takes up to two business days.

The solar consultants at RWE Energija handle the necessary documentation and provide advice on choosing an optimal solution for every roof. And clearly there is an increase in the value of rental space for tourists who prefer environmentally friendly accommodations and are willing to pay a higher price for them, they say at RWE. They also offer solar calculator on their website so that prospective customers can see for themselves how much they will save with a solar power plant.

croatia_solar_energy_02.jpg

RWE Solar Calculator

After entering the real estate location and electricity consumption on an annual basis, the RWE solar calculator calculates the savings for every prospective customer. The calculator also accounts for the estimated power capacity of the power plant, the targeted amount of electricity, and the minimum roof area needed to install the solar panels. And it calculates the estimated repayment time. The minimum recommended annual consumption for the higher tariff is 2500 kWh. Then, the orientation of the roof, type of construction and the productivity of a solar power plant are assessed onsite. A perfect example is a family house on the coast with a north-south roof orientation. They calculate the available roof surface and consider that a power plant of 3 kWp requires about 18 square meters of roof. A 5 kWp power plant requires approximately 28 square meters of roof. The average power plant has a capacity of 3 kWp and is priced from HRK 35,000 (4700 EUR), which RWE Energija allows customers to repay over 36 installments.

Legalizing the power plant isn’t necessary since a mandatory part of the supporting documentation is proof that the building is legal (i.e. a building permit). As a solar power plant connects to a metered site, it is assumed that any building that has a meter is already legal, they explain at RWE energija. RWE will purchase any excess electricity produced by a solar power plant, but that is not currently a profitable venture for most home electricity producers.

HEP Upcoming Offer

HEP (Hrvatska elektroprivreda) will also offer two similar services to its customers very soon. HEP ESCO, a HEP company that offers various energy services, in collaboration with HEP Supply, will launch a HEPI Solar project designed for customers interested in erecting a solar power plant on their roof to cover their personal electricity consumption.

HEP will offer solar power plants from 4 to 10 kWp according to the ESCO model. This means that the company will independently finance the installation of such a power plant and maintain it for the ten years. The power plants will be paid for by the surplus electricity the plant produces, which will then be supplied to the grid. Signing three contracts is the only the legal prerequisite. The power plant will become the property of building owner after the contract period expires, HEP explained.

More information on the RWE solar plant offer and their solar calculator can be found here. Check out the HEP website regularly here for information on their upcoming solar plant offer.

For more information on clean energy in Croatia, follow our Lifestyle page.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Understanding and Paying Electricity Bills in Croatia: A Step by Step Guide

It may not be the sexiest topic in the world, but it is one of the more popular items on our sister site, Total Hvar. How to understand and pay one's electricity bill. Croatian bureaucracy is not famed for its foreign-language friendliness, leaving foreigners with property somewhat in the dark over how to go about simple things such as understanding and paying one's electricity bill. 

Grateful thanks as ever to unpaid pedantic editor-in-chief Vivian Grisogono for this excellent summary of all your need to know about your electricity bill, taken from our Total Hvar site, hence the occasional Hvar reference. 

Electricity is something we take for granted, and there is ever-increasing demand for it to power heating, cooling, domestic appliances and industrial machines, to name a few. Electricity suppliers have to work out how to meet the demand, and try not to cost the earth. Croatia has to import much of its energy requirements, and has set in place policies for developing sustainable energy from renewable sources. The good news on Hvar is the plan to introduce photovoltaic modules to produce electricity and solar thermal modules for water heating, and also to use biomass energy, all through the Solution Project, under the EC-supported Concerto Initiative. Since Croatia's accession to the EU in July 2013, projects to promote the use of sustainable electrical energy have multiplied. Individuals in isolated places like Humac and Gromin Dolac have led the way in establishing independent sources of energy based mainly on solar power.

At the moment Hvar’s electricity supply comes from the mainland, primarily from hydro-electric sources.

The Croatian national electricity network is supplied by a firm called Hrvatska elektroprivreda (HEP for short) and distributed by a subsidiary called HEP ODS (Operator distribuicijskog sustava). There are various tariffs to choose from, depending on your needs.

You can choose to be supplied by HEP, as a “tariff customer” (tarifni kupac), or you can choose an independent supplier, with access to the public electrical network as an “eligible customer” (povlašteni kupac). Commercial users can choose between high, medium or low voltage networks, whereas residential customers have the low voltage option only. Domestic electricity is charged for at a lower rate than in houses or apartments which are registered for renting out as a business.

Getting electricity connected

If you buy a property and need to instal electricity, you need expert advice. You and the expert first need to work out roughly what your requirements will be. You need a clear idea of what kind of installations you are planning (such as central heating or air conditioning), and how much electricity they might use on average. You have to specify whether you require single-phase or three-phase power, and how many kilowatts.

Each system comes with limiters, which cut off your power if you exceed your set limit at any time, so it’s important to get it right from the outset. Your electrical needs have to be included alongside the project plans, which are submitted to the local electricity office for approval prior to connexion. Detailed plans for the electrical circuits have to be drawn up by a specially qualified electrical engineer.

If your property is a new-build or had no electricity before, you will need to pay for the connexion to the nearest pylon or source. In some places you can pay to have the cables buried underground, to avoid having unsightly wires running into your property. Sometimes HEP ODS encourages this by supplying the cables free of charge in return for you covering the cost of providing the channel.

You also have to choose the type of tariff model you want, which dictates the kind of meter you will have. Most households use the white model, which has a multi-tariff meter and two charging phases, with a lower rate applying overnight (2200 - 0800 in summer, 2100 - 0700 in winter).

For rental properties, it can be an advantage to use the pre-paid orange tariff model, which has a special meter to take payment by a card. You can change your requirements at any time, and application forms can be downloaded from the HEP ODS website. Tariff model changes are free of charge if done no more than once a year, although you may have to pay for a new meter if the old one isn’t compatible.

Once all the decisions have been made and approved, the electricity board will issue you with a contract to sign, and then do the connexion, usually very quickly afterwards.

Safety

Electricity can be dangerous. If you buy a property with an existing electrical system, you need to make sure that all bills have been paid, and have the system checked for any defects. Nowadays all major electrical work has to be done by recognized installers, and on completion you should be issued with a certificate confirming that the installation complies with existing laws.

As wiring in Croatian houses is routinely chased into the walls, it’s useful to obtain a photographic record of where the wires are, to avoid driving picture nails into them, or in case of future problems. In Dalmatia the electricity supply can be erratic due to bad weather, especially electrical storms, so you may also consider putting a surge protector in with the main fuse-switches, and safeguarding sensitive equipment like computers with a UPS. Most newly built or renovated houses include a lightning conductor nowadays.

Paying the bills

Once electricity has been installed, your meter is read twice a year, usually in March and September, and a bill follows. If you don’t use your property permanently, you can take your own reading and pass it on to the HEP office in Stari Grad by phone or in person so the bill can be issued. Electricity bills are paid via the post office or bank, as teh HEP office no longer accepts payments. 

In the normal way, the electricity office issues an estimate of your usage over the year, broken down month by month. This forms the basis for paying instalments in advance. Many people find this confusing, and not a little irritating. However, in general the system works fairly, and helps to prevent a situation (all too common in the UK) where people fail to pay their bills and leave the supplier severely out of pocket. Much of this is explained on the HEP ODS website under FAQ.

Having paid your bill, it’s wise to keep the receipt and paperwork safely, just in case you ever need proof.

What your bill says

Details on the bills vary according to the tariff model. The details given here are a typical example from the white tariff model. All bills are headed with HEP ODS’s OIB (identity number), and the address and bank details of the local office which is responsible for your electricity supply and bills.

A typical white tariff electricity bill, front page

Top right: Mjesto izdavanja : place of issue

Datum dospijeća : date due

Izdavanje slijedećeg računa : date of next bill

R-1 (denotes: official bill for tax & business purposes)

On the left: Podaci o kupcu : customer details

Šifra kupca : customer number

Kupac : customer

Ulica & broj : address (street & number)

Mjesto : place (town, village)

Porezni broj : tax number (ID number / JMBG for Croatian nationals)

OIB : the identity number introduced for individuals and businesses in January 2009 - foreigners and Croatians alike need this for bill-paying and bank accounts

Račun br: Invoice number....... razdoblje: for the period.....

Objašnjenje računa: explanation of the bill (the arrow points to over the page)

Opis: account

Električna energija viša dnevna tarifna stavka: electrical energy, higher rate

Električna energija niža dnevna tarifna stavka: electrical energy, lower rate

Naknada za mjernu i opskrbnu uslugu: charge for meter-reading and service supply

Iznos za električnu energiju: amount charged for electrical energy

Potpora građanima i kućanstvima (više od 3000 kWh): support for individuals and households (over 3000 KW)

Naknada za poticanje proizvodnje iz obnovljivih izvora: charge for promoting renewable energy sources

Porezna osnovica: pre-tax total

PDV (VAT)

Kamata: interest

A. UKUPAN IZNOS RAČUNA : TOTAL CHARGE

B. Zbroj izdanih rata za obračunsko razdoblje: amount paid in instalments for the account period....

C. DIFFERENCE (A-B)

D. Dugovanje na dan obračuna: Amount due on the billing date

Ukupno za platiti: total to be paid (C + D) If you have overpaid through your instalments, this line reads: Ukupno preplaćeno - total paid in advance, then -(C + D).

On the reverse side of the bill is a breakdown of your usage, the instalments paid, and the way the electricity supplier makes the charge for the electricity you have used. Below those three sections is a final paragraph stating what your next monthly instalments have been calculated as.

Electricity bill, reverse side

You can appeal against your bill within 15 days of receiving it, in writing, and should enclose a reading from your meter. Your meter number, which you should always quote when dealing with the electricity board, is given on page two of the bill, under “broj brojila”.

Written by @Vivian Grisogono

Updated October 2013

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