The forthcoming amendment to Act No. 458/2000 Coll., Energy Act, from the Ministry of Industry and Trade will bring significant changes to the regulation of energy use, possibly as early as 1 January 2024. Among others, these include the implementation of EU Directive 2019/944, which regulates common rules for the internal electricity market, this forthcoming regulation being largely inspired by the existing Austrian regulation.
The first aspect of the regulation is the possibility to share electricity from renewable sources “with oneself“. In other words, a person, or a so-called “active customer“, who produces electricity through a renewable source at one location can then take it at another location or share it with up to ten other customer locations, regardless of where these customer locations are connected to the Czech electrical grid. A typical example is the generation of electricity in a rural area where there is space for solar panels and its subsequent consumption in an apartment, where there is no space for solar panels. The condition will be free registration at the Energy Data Centre.
Another important change is the introduction of energy and renewable energy communities. These are not new forms of legal persons, but forms of legal persons already regulated by law, such as associations, cooperatives or, under certain conditions, limited liability companies. The activities of these communities are aimed at the production, sharing and supply of electricity or the provision of other services related to the provision of the members’ energy needs. Both communities will be required to register with the Energy Regulatory Authority. The main difference between an energy community and a renewable energy community is that an energy community can use different energy sources, i.e. both green and fossil fuels (e.g. gas and coal), while a renewable energy community can only use energy from renewable sources (photovoltaic, wind) and the members must also be close to the energy source. The communities will also differ from each other in terms of who can be a member and who will exercise decisive influence.
The distribution system
Sharing the electricity with oneself and community electricity sharing will both require the use of the distribution and transmission system. It should be noted that this will not be a sharing of specific electricity but rather an accounting operation where a certain amount of electricity supplied can be drawn from the electrical grid that the supplier will not charge for. According to the proposal, the supplier is entitled to a distribution fee for the use of the distribution and transmission system, which nevertheless is also paid for in the case of normal electricity supply.
Gradual introduction of changes
It should also be emphasized that the draft bill contains transitional provisions that will put the changes into practice gradually or with certain restrictions, e.g. until 30 June 2026, a sharing group between transmission points in the community may include transmission points of no more than 1,000 customer points or electricity generating plants in a contiguous territory of no more than three municipalities with extended competence or in the territory of the City of Prague, or until 30 June 2026, a sharing group outside the community may include transmission points of no more than 1,000 customer points or electricity generating plants.
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This document is a general communication and should not be regarded as legal advice on any specific matter.