Today, the Riigikogu passed the Act that will enable household consumers to buy electricity at a controlled production price, that is, as a universal service. In addition, the Parliament concluded the first reading of one Bill.
The Act on Amendments to the Electricity Market Act and the Competition Act (655 SE), initiated by the Government, will enable the price of the production of electricity to be delimited and electricity to be sold to household consumers as a universal service. The Act imposes an obligation on the national company Eesti Energia to sell electricity to Estonian household consumers and all electricity resellers also as a universal service from this October to 30 April 2026. In addition, upon the entry into force of the Act, 63 sellers of electricity in Estonia will have an opportunity to begin selling electricity within the framework of a universal service.
The Act does not set out the price of the universal service but establishes the principles for price formation. The Competition Authority will set the price, taking into account production costs and a reasonable profit of the electricity producer. Sellers of electricity may factor in selling costs. The base price will be the production price of Enefit Power approved by the Competition Authority, to which the justified costs and reasonable operating profit of the universal service provider will be added. Electricity sellers will have to publish the price of the universal service on their websites.
Electricity sellers who provide a universal service will have an obligation to offer their clients automatic transfer to universal service if the price of the electrical energy sold to the consumer thus far is higher than the price of the universal service The consumer will not need to do anything to agree to the offer. However, in order to reject the offer, the consumer will have to inform the seller of their wish at least two days before the entry into force of a new contract. Consumers will be able to reject at any time the universal service that has already been launched.
Until 30 September 2023, consumers will be able to transfer to the universal service without paying a contractual penalty for the termination of a contract in force.
During the debate, Taavi Aas (Centre Party), Priit Sibul (Isamaa), Henn Põlluaas (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Kalvi Kõva (Social Democratic Party) and Kristen Michal (Reform Party) took the floor on behalf of their factions.
60 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Act, nobody was against and nobody abstained.
One Bill passed the second reading
Under the Bill on Amendments to the Mental Health Act and the Health Services Organisation Act (600 SE), initiated by the Government, coercive psychiatric treatment will be on the list of health services of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund and it will begin to be funded from the budget of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund.
Under a contract, the Estonian Health Insurance Fund is already now checking all treatment bills submitted for coercive psychiatric treatment and emergency psychiatric care. It is also paying for the provision of emergency psychiatric care, including the involuntary emergency psychiatric care to people not covered by health insurance. In order to harmonise the funding of health services, the service of coercive psychiatric treatment imposed by a court will be included among the health services funded from the budget of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund. At present, the costs of coercive psychiatric treatment are covered from the state budget through the Ministry of Social Affairs.
Before the first reading, the Social Affairs Committee made amendments to the Bill that will give clinical psychologists the right to act as independent specialists, or to provide psychological treatment under a licence, separately from general or specialised medical care.
A legal person or a sole proprietor who employs a person having the qualification of a clinical psychologist or equivalent qualification can apply for the licence. The licence requirement will help ensure that independent providers of psychological treatment meet the qualification requirements, that their activities and the interventions they apply meet at least the minimum level of psychological interventions and that the treatment is provided with the level of care normally expected of providers of health care services.
The amendments will give the Estonian Health Insurance Fund the right to enter into contracts with service providers approved by the Health Board for the provision of psychological treatment, and family physicians will be able to refer all patients in need of psychological treatment to the contract partners of the Health Insurance Fund.
Before the second reading, the Social Affairs Committee made amendments to the Bill to also include speech therapists and physiotherapists in the category of independent specialists. They will also be subject to licence requirement. Physiotherapy, speech therapy and psychological therapy may be provided for therapeutic purposes without a licence until 30 June 2024.
The video recording of the sitting will be available on the Riigikogu YouTube channel. (Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
Your feedback is important. Please share it with us!