Today Elering started to operate as a state-owned transmission grid operator with responsibility for Estonia’s energy system as an integral whole, in order to guarantee consumers a good-quality electricity supply at all times.
As a result of the change of owner yesterday evening the state became the full owner of Elering through the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, taking ownership over from Eesti Energia, which is a market participant. “The separation of the transmission grid operator, both legally and in practice, should reassure the opening market that all market participants are treated equally and that a Chinese wall has been created in the system operator to protect market information from other parties,” commented Taavi Veskimägi, CEO of Elering. This takeover realised the decision the Government of the Republic made in autumn to separate the transmission grid operator Elering from the Eesti Energia group. This step guarantees the independence of the transmission system from electricity production and sales and should create a good base for the opening of the electricity market in Estonia. Elering has the responsibility for operating the energy system, and as a transmission grid operator Elering will also act as a system operator. The new European Union energy market directive requires the ownership separation of transmission grids, putting the transmission grid operator in a new role. Until now the transmission grid operator has been a part of the Eesti Energia group and has mostly been responsible for system-related and technical work. The change of ownership structure obliges the company to develop new capabilities at a totally new qualitative level which have until now been covered by Eesti Energia. Veskimägi says that a transparent market structure should attract traders not only from the East and the South but also from the Nordic countries, and this will ensure stronger competition in an open energy market and thus a better price for consumers. “Elering has to develop into the cornerstone of a fully functioning electricity market in Estonia,” stressed Veskimägi. “The firm step taken by the government in separating Elering and passing the amendments to the Electricity Market Act will help close the gap that in recent years has emerged in the levels of development of the electricity market between Estonia and other regions in the European Union.” Veskimägi believes that in order to guarantee the flawless operation of the electricity system, the independent transmission network operator needs not only to have system and technical capabilities, but should also considerably increase the quality of its general management, cross-border cooperation and ability to work together with the state and market participants, and it needs to know about opening the energy market and about finance. The skills that Elering has are valuable, according to Veskimägi, as it is becoming a respected partner in society and is an expert in energy and in developing the energy economy. “Elering is not a normal company which aims simply to make a profit. It is an organisation which, to a large extent, functions in the public interest by guaranteeing security of supply, creating the conditions for a functioning electricity market, allowing as many producers as possible to access the market and ensuring good connections with other countries,” said Veskimägi. “I would like to stress that as an independent operator we want to break the myth that transmission grid operators are opposed to wind power plants. Our desire is that there would be many producers in the market making electricity from different sources, including nuclear power plants,” he added.