At the government session held on August 25, 2022, the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia adopted a Decision on the existence of a crisis situation in the supply of electricity, which was published in the Official Gazette No. 188/22.
Such a Decision is not a surprise, considering that before the end of 2021, the Government took such a step when they enacted the Decree on criteria and conditions for declaring a state of crisis in November 2021 (Official Gazette No. 246/21, 300/21, 74/ 22), which presents the legal basis on which these Decisions are now promulgated.
Namely, this last Decision is identical to the one from November 2021, but it remains to be seen whether now, as was the case at the end of 2021, the Government will adopt precise Decisions to take measures to ensure additional amounts of electrical energy with which tasked TE-TO AD Skopje to produce energy only for the state as the sole buyer and put price cap on the amount at which TE-TO AD will sell the electricity.
Such Decision was based on the Decree – which was initially adopted by the Government on the basis of Article 14 paragraph (1) of the Law on Energy. A provision that gives the Government the right to determine in more detail the parameters for declaring a crisis situation, and thus the measures that would be taken to mitigate such crisis situation.
It must be emphasized that Article 14 paragraph (3) of the Law on Energy, which touches on the measures established by the Decree, explicitly indicates that in addition to the temporary nature of the measures, they should limit or disrupt the competition of the energy markets to the smallest extent, within the state and in the European Community.
Government Decisions relating to a certain private entity, as was the case with TE-TO AD Skopje, and defining the circumstances according to which TE-TO will have to operate and sell, could be considered to involve the issue of competition and free competitive action in the market. Inasmuch as Article 14 paragraph (4) of the Law on Energy requires the Government (as part of its obligations under the Energy Community Agreement), to notify the Secretariat of the Energy Community of the measures and the effects of the measures that have been taken, and the Secretariat would give its opinion after that.
Whether the Government took this step in accordance with the Law when it adopted the first Decisions the previous year, cannot be reliably confirmed because no such statements were made by government officials. At the same time, it is an interesting question how the European Community would perceive such a measure, given that the European Union at that time (and still, although there are indications that it may change in the near future) had not established a measure to limit the price of energy and establish price cap, but undertook other measures to mitigate the shock.
However, at this moment and the last Decision to declare a state of crisis of the Government, the Government established a state of crisis within 30 days. Experts, and now the general public, certainly expect that such a crisis situation will be subject to extension on several occasions during this winter season.
Hence, it remains to be seen whether the Government will start to bring measures and Decisions that will be aimed at private companies in the energy sector and their operations and how the same will be accepted by those private companies and their legal teams. The manner in which things will unfold in the European Union, and how the private companies operating on the European market will react if this type of measures are activated, will be particularly influential.