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Cyprus

Administrative Court slams CERA for freezing licencing process

Cyprus’ Administrative Court, a body tasked with adjudicating complaints against administrative bodies, ruled that the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA) had no right to freeze the review of applications filed by private power producers, which would have made the power market more competitive, an energy business group said.

“The defendants had no competence to decide the freeze of reviewing applications, violating so their obligation of exercising their competences to take a decision,” the court was cited as saying by the Cyprus Free and Competitive Energy Market Business Association.

The group, which represents investors planning projects with an overall power production capacity of 600 megawatts, said that the ruling makes clear that “CERA’s decisions until today are illegal and arbitrary and (CERA) must immediately go ahead with the complete opening of the energy market and unfreeze both the approval of existing applications, and the admission of new applications in the areas of power production and supply, as stipulated by existing legislation and regulation”.

CERA said that it hadn’t studied the verdict and was therefore not in position to comment. On September 5, the chairman of CERA Andreas Poulikkas said that the body instructed the Transmission System Operator to prepare a draft of the energy market regulations by the end of the year. The new regulations will govern market participation by private investors, which was completely liberalised in the European Union in 2014. State-owned power producer Electricity Authority of Cyprus currently has a monopoly on the Cypriot electricity market.

The energy investors’ group, which was commenting in an emailed statement, added that any practical difficulties resulting from “either improvidence or bad practices of the past” need to be resolved via dialogue and consensually, instead of through arbitrary and illegal decisions.

The administrative court ruled in a case filed by Easy Power (Cyprus) Ltd. The ruling can be challenged at the Supreme Court. The chairman of the Cyprus Free and Competitive Energy Market Business Association Pavlos Liassides is director of Easy Power.

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