The Energy Commission has made changes to the draft on gas safety

On Wednesday, the parliamentary energy committee tabled several amendments to the draft proposed by the PiS club on gas safety. The project offers, among other things, extension rates for the sale of gas to household consumers and benefit institutions by the end of 2027.

According to the draft, by the end of 2027, the obligation of the chairman of the BHV to approve tariffs for the sale of gas to household consumers and strategic public interest entities will be extended. The proposed regulation also aims to extend the period during which the mandatory gas reserves must be supplied to the gas system from 40 to 50 days.

At the meeting of the Energy, Climate and State Resources Committee, Moscow emphasized that extending the period during which the mandatory stocks of natural gas must be supplied to the gas system to 50 days will allow the storage system operator to manage these capacities flexibly and Poland.

The Minister of Climate stated that the draft also includes changes to the so-called stock exchange obligation, ie an obligation to sell gas via the stock exchange. “As of today, the obligation is 55%. We are not changing this share up or down in this law, we are just changing the way we deal with this obligation. The regulation gives the minister of energy the option to reduce the amount of the scholarship commitment, which will help us respond flexibly.” If such a necessity were to arise in the market, for example, if there were entities on the exchange that, in our opinion, engaged in speculative activities, they would price “- she explained.

Moscow also announced that the draft proposed introducing an obligation to take into account preventive action plans when developing development plans by energy companies and an obligation for the storage system operator to prepare a development plan. “This will enable us to have even more control and influence over the entire storage policy, as well as the expansion, modernization and maintenance of warehouses” – she noted.

During the meeting, opposition delegates asked, among other things, to secure supplies through the Baltic Pipe and whether Poland is running out of gas. They expressed concern that the proposed law would de facto abolish the scholarship requirement. They also called for the list of entities subject to tariff protection to be extended to housing cooperatives and communities in the event that heat for household needs is provided by energy companies that operate gas-fired boilers. Sławomir Neumann (KO) announced that his club would table an amendment to this issue in second reading.

Moscow emphasized that PGNiG informs about every contract concluded as far as trade secrets allow.

She assured there were no plans or the need to restrict gas supplies to consumers, while calling on the opposition not to threaten such a possibility. She also informed that the extension of the list of protected entities to those cooperatives and communities that are not currently on the list was not included in the draft, as this proposal does not comply with state aid rules as of today. “We have a developed solution that we communicate at the EC level, we will implement it, it will help us secure this group and at the same time it will not pose a risk to government aid,” Moscow assured.

The committee accepted a number of amendments from the PiS club. One is to regulate the problem of incurring costs associated with the modification or replacement of high-methane gas traps in total or partial conversion from the nitrogen-rich gas system to the methane gas-rich system. The next is to clarify the law on special solutions for the protection of gas fuel consumers in relation to the situation in the gas market.

The draft provides for the suspension of the exchange obligation in the event of a crisis announcement or the possibility to change the amount of the obligation in 2022 and 2023 by the Minister responsible for energy. There is also the possibility for the minister to declare a crisis state for a certain period within the meaning of the Regulation of the European Parliament and the EU Council on measures to guarantee the security of gas supply.

The design defines the country’s gas security. They are defined as a state that allows the current and future coverage of the natural gas demand of the customers, in a certain amount and time, in a technically and economically justifiable way, as far as the proper functioning of the economy is allowed.

The draft also provides for the removal of the current exemption from the licensing requirement for trade in gaseous fuels, if the annual value of the trade does not exceed the equivalent of 100,000 PLN. euros. According to the justification, the current exemption in this regard, ie not requiring a license to trade in gaseous fuels, poses a significant risk that part of the trade is left outside the control of the regulatory authority.

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