By Stelios Orphanides
The chairman of the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA) said that the new tariffs by state-owned power producer Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) are part of the preparation of the liberalisation of the electricity market in two years, the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) reported on Tuesday.
The new tariffs, introduced earlier this month by EAC based on CERA’s updated methodology applied two years ago and provide for a 6 per cent reduction of electricity prices on average, provide for a reduced profit margin to 4.6 per cent for EAC will serve as reference also for independent producers, CERA’s chairman Andreas Poullikas said after submitting a copy of the regulator’s 2016 annual report to President Nicos Anastasiades.
CERA, which pledged to liberalise the electricity market by July 1, 2019 and to allow the participation of alternative suppliers and producers ahead of the complete liberalisation on the basis of bilateral contracts, is also preparing for a regulatory framework for the natural gas market, Poullikas said according to CNA.
The regulator is also evaluating the results of the first audit of EAC following the separation of its operations into a division in charge of transmission and distribution and another responsible for power generation and supply in December last year, ahead of two more audits before the end of 2018 aiming at ensuring the independence of the power producer’s regulated operations, Poullikas said. He added that CERA is also working on the preparation of a regulatory framework for storage systems to increase the market share of renewable energy sources and on a study about the system’s adequacy.
According to the 2016 annual report, the installed capacity in power generation from renewables stood at the end of 2016 at 253 Megawatts (Mw) broken down to 157.5Mw in windfarms, 85.7Mw in photovoltaic and 9.7Mw in biomass, compared to 243.7Mw in 2015. The share of renewables in total power generation dropped last year to 8.4 per cent from 8.5 per cent the year before, mainly on a 7.1 per cent increase in overall power generation.
Poullikas thanked Anastasiades for his support in increasing staffing levels at CERA and asked him to continue doing so and help CERA operate in its full potential.
Anastasiades said that CERA’s efforts in the area of market liberalisation and tariff regulation benefit consumers and added that all matters related to natural gas are going into the right direction through planning.