Croatian energy regulator HERA has issued a licence for operation on the domestic natural gas market to Slovenia's GEN-I - after the company already entered in June the electricity distribution market of the EU's newest member state, daily Poslovni Dnevnik reported.
This licence is marking the formal launch of the Croatian gas market liberalisation because even though the necessary legislation was adopted a few years ago, households and small businesses have so far indicated no willingness to change their gas supplier.
Still, there are a few others steps GEN-I is required to take before becoming fully legitimate to offer its services to clients. The Slovenian company should meet the requirements for becoming a gas importer in Croatia and should buy the transport capacities it will need from local pipeline operator Plinacro.
GEN-I already operates on Croatia’s electricity market, offering households and small businesses prices 10% lower than other providers. The company has said it plans to attract 20,000 consumers by end-2012, another 50,000 in 2014 and acquire a share of 17% of the Croatian electricity market by the end of 2016.
The GEN-I Group has subsidiaries and operates in Austria, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania and Greece, according to its website. All subsidiaries are fully owned by the Slovenia-based parent company GEN-I.
Until June, when GEN-I and Germany's RWE entered the Croatian electricity market, state-owned HEP was the sole electricity supplier in the country - then the liberalisation of this market segment began.
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