Shorter time limit, higher rates seen for universal supply

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, and the energy ministry are working on stricter regulations for a universal electricity supply service introduced almost a decade ago to cover the electricity needs of blacklisted consumers shunned by suppliers for repeatedly failing to meet electricity bill payments.

The number of users of this universal service is estimated to have risen to 135,000. This figure is believed to include a considerable number of electricity bill dodgers, or consumers deemed capable, even affluent, but unwilling to service accumulating electricity bills.

The energy ministry is awaiting the findings of a RAE report before it takes any decisions to revise the service’s current rules, sources informed.

The introduction of a time limit, possibly three months, is one of the measures being considered, sources noted.

A tariff increase per KWh for this universal service, currently 12 percent higher than market rates, is another measure being looked at by authorities, according to sources.

Recent legislation aiming to reshape power utility PPC includes a law requiring suppliers to alternate in providing this universal service to blacklisted consumers if related competitive procedures do not produce a result.

Until now, PPC has been required by law, as the dominant player, to provide this universal service because independent suppliers have been unwilling to do so.