The House on Thursday passed a bill that allows staff at the Electricity Authority (EAC) to keep all their current healthcare and other benefits should they decide to transfer to the Transmission System Operator.
Any EAC employee transferring to the Transmission System Operator (TSO) will maintain all their rights and obligations in terms of their current benefits.
In addition, the legislative proposal – tabled by Disy MP Kyriacos Hadjiyiannis – provides that the full staffing of the TSO be completed within six months.
A provision in the law stipulates that, as of the date on which EAC staff transfer to the TSO, the TSO itself will pay into the benefits funds as the employer.
Speaking on the House floor, Hadjiyiannis said the upcoming changes must ensure that “we have continuity under the new state of affairs and build credibility [for the TSO] so that no shadows can hang over it.”
The TSO, he added, must become a fully autonomous agency that has no ties to the EAC, given that the latter is a player in the energy market.
Under the envisioned opening up of the electricity market, the TSO will have the role of market operator. But up until now, the agency had relied on seconded staff from the EAC – a stakeholder in the energy market which also holds a virtual monopoly.
The platform for the Competitive Electricity Market (CEM) will include financial markets of the stock market type, which are the futures market and the day-ahead market, but also other types of markets, such as the real-time balancing market ensuring the energy balance between production and demand.
This will be run by special software operated by the TSO.
Originally, the electricity market was due to have been opened up in July 2014; this was then pushed back to July 2016, then to July 2019, next December 2020, October 2022, and most recently the middle of 2023.