Swedish power market opened

November 23, 1998, 08:40 CET

Companies like Statoil can now compete on equal terms with electricity utilities in supplying power to Swedish households.

This follows a unanimous decision by the industry committee of Sweden's Riksdag (parliament) on 19 November to eliminate charges for changing electricity supplier.

Sweden thereby falls into line with Norway and Finland over the terms imposed on consumers for moving to a new source of power.

Today's requirement that households must install a new meter costing SEK 2,500 when changing supplier will be removed by 1 November 1999 at the
latest.

At the same time, the maximum notice which can be required for such transfers will be cut from six months to one.

The Riksdag also opened for the possibility that large electricity consumers could escape the requirement to install a new meter when taking on a different supplier.

"This is good news both for us and for Swedish electricity consumers," says Patrik Westander, Statoil's project manager for electricity in Sweden. "At last we have a genuine opportunity to become a substantial player in this market."

The group has collaborated ahead of the Riksdag decision with other new electricity suppliers and several consumer organisations in lobbying on this issue.

Sweden's competition and consumer agencies and other official bodies have been recommending the present changes to the government for a number of years.

"These restraints on free competition mean that Swedish households currently pay almost 70 per cent more for electricity than their Norwegian counterparts, despite the existence of a common Nordic electricity exchange," says Mr Westander.

He points out that Sweden's four million households will see big reductions in electricity prices as a result.