Long-awaited regulations governing the hiring of staff by the Transmission System Operator – seen as the first step toward the eventual opening up of the electricity market – were submitted to parliament by the government on Tuesday.
The regulations – which need parliamentary approval – would finally allow the TSO to hire two managers.
Under the envisioned liberalised electricity market, the TSO will act as an independent market operator. But up until now, the entity has relied on seconded staff from the Electricity Authority of Cyprus – itself a market stakeholder which also holds a virtual monopoly.
The TSO’s continued reliance on the EAC for personnel is despite legislation previously enacted rendering the TSO a fully autonomous agency. But that law is toothless until the accompanying regulations are also passed.
Chair of the House energy committee Kyriacos Hadjiyiannis said the House would likely vote on the just-submitted regulations before the Christmas holiday recess.
Akel MP Costas Costa complained it has been a year and a half since parliament voted on a law rendering the TSO independent.
“And only today, after enormous pressure from parliament, has the government brought the regulations which will allow the TSO to hire two managers.”
However, regulations allowing the hiring of additional staff are still to come.
“Worse, today we learned from the representative of the commerce ministry that they have done nothing to amend the relevant legislation that would enable EAC employees to get transferred to the TSO,” said Costa.
“At this rate, it’s certain that not even over the next two years will the electricity market open up to competition.”
Initially, the electricity market was set to have been liberalised by July 2014, that then got pushed back to July 2016, then July 2019, then December 2020, October 2022 and, most recently, to around the middle of next year.