The Slovenian government has announced that it will partially open its electricity market to foreign distributors in 2002 in order to help cover a predicted energy deficit. According to the country’s Environment Minister, Janez Kopac, 2002 will represent a year of transition, with the market completely opened by 2003.

Slovenia expects to become a net power importer in 2002 with imports rising to 2000 GWh while exports will be 1400 GWh. The country’s negotiations to join the European Union require it to liberalise its energy market in line with EU regulations.

The new power shortage is a result of reaching agreement over power from the Krsko nuclear power plant which is jointly owned by Slovenia and Croatia. Slovenia cut power to Croatia three years ago because of unpaid bills. But from July 2002, half the power from Krsko will once again be exported to Croatia. The shortfall resulting from resumption of exports is expected to be met with imports from the Czech Republic and Bosnia.