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Further delay to opening electricity market, opposition blames government

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Opposition lawmakers on Tuesday blamed the government after learning that the much-trumpeted opening up of the electricity market will be delayed once again.

The decision to push back the date for rolling out the competitive electricity market (CEM) was conveyed to MPs by the Transmission System Operator (TSO) during a closed-doors session of the House energy committee.

Akel MP Costas Costa later told media that the reasons cited by the TSO are staffing problems as well as delays in the procedures that will render the TSO fully independent.

A representative of the TSO informed parliamentarians that the circumstances now prevailing in world energy – constantly rising fuel prices – are not conducive to launching the competitive electricity market.

Costa recalled that the government had last assured them that the CEM would be launched in the fourth quarter of this year, with the aim of meeting Cyprus’ obligations to the European Union relating to the penetration of renewables in the energy mix.

Timelines have come and gone. Initially the government had promised to open up the electricity market by July 2014, then July 2016, July 2019, and December 2020.

The latest timeline cited was October 2022 – but now that too is off the table.

“Unfortunately, yet again we’ve been proven right on what we have been shouting about for years… yet again the government has confirmed its inability to handle a serious matter,” remarked Costa.

He added that the government had dragged its feet in tabling legislation aiming to render the TSO a fully independent entity – a key component in having an open electricity market.

The TSO is currently reliant on the Electricity Authority of Cyprus for staff.

The planned open electricity market will involve an energy exchange, and will be based on the net pool market model.

Only in May, the director of the TSO was telling local media that the market would be ready to operate by the fourth quarter of the year.

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