Five most common questions about the fixed fee applied by Elektrilevi
Starting from 1st January, in places with no or low consumption, an electricity network service fixed fee has been applied. This change has raised many questions and sometimes even inaccurate opinions.
Ainer Tiitson, the customer service manager at Elektrilevi, will give more precise comments on five most common questions:
Why has Elektrilevi applied a fixed fee?
Shortly, the goal is for the network to be as optimal as possible and the price to be reasonable for all customers. We have more than 1100 km of lines and over 300 substations that have transferred no kilowatt-hours of electricity per year and that would need investing significant amounts of money to be renewed in the near future. The essence of the network service is to guarantee standby and most of the time, its costs do not depend on whether the customer actually consumes electricity or not. Therefore, so to say a standby fee will involve every customer to think through, if and how powerful network connection is necessary for them. By involving all customers that wish for the network to be on standby in covering network maintenance costs, it enables us to ensure a network service price as low as possible.
To whom the fixed fee has been applied from 1st January?
The fixed network fee concerns those places of consumption where there is no consumption or it has been lower than 250 kWh per year. The rate of the fixed fee is mainly 1.5 euros a month for apartments and between 2-5 euros a month for private residences depending on the capacity of the main safety switch.
Electricity consumption is counted based on the place of consumption and the basis of the count is the amount consumed during the year 2017. These customers that have consumed less than 250 kWh last year in their place of electricity consumption will receive their first bill containing the fixed fee in February. We have sent pre-notifications to our customers last year and we will inform our customers affected by these changes by letter again in the second half on January.
Why is 250 kWh per year the limit?
Up to 250 kWh is a volume of electricity consumption where the place of consumption is not used as a permanent residence. Until now, in those places the customer’s contribution for maintaining a network connection has been absent or very low and it influences the network service fee paid by other customers. For comparison: the consumption of apartments is 2000 kWh and for private houses 4000 kWh per year on average.
Elsewhere in Europe, the fixed fee component is common through all electricity packages, which makes sense when the nature of the service is taken into consideration and it would not create this kind of somewhat conditional transition limit. It is wise to move in that direction, but we have started with the change that would ascertain most of all in places with no or low consumption levels, whether the electricity network is still necessary for the customers.
How does the fixed fee comply with the direction of saving energy, should we start consuming more to avoid it?
Economical energy policy indicates both economical consumption and the rational utilization of the electricity network. The electricity network too has an environmental footprint and maintaining an unused network is not purposeful for either the environment or the society in general.
When using electricity, we must consider our actual needs and we need to keep in mind that if consumption is higher, the costs for electricity, excise tax and renewable energy fee will be higher too. The goal of the fee changes is not to increase consumption, but to take in everyone that wishes for a network connection to covering network maintenance costs, to achieve a network that meets the actual needs of the customers and as a whole, a network service price as low as possible.
What should the customer, to whom the fixed fee has been applied to, do?
We have informed those to whom the fixed fee may be concerned resulting from previous consumption history, by a letter sent in 2017, and also given corresponding recommendations. In general, the customer has three options:
- in case of private residences, check the capacity of your main safety switch and lower the amperage of it, if possible, because the rate of the fixed fee depends on the main switch (in case of apartments, normally the owner can’t control the capacity of the main switch);
- cease the network service contract in places with low or no consumption, in case there is no need for an electricity connection in that place of consumption in the near future;
- continue with the current contract and contribute to covering the network standby costs.
There are places where from the time decades ago, currently unnecessarily large main switches have remained and reducing the capacity of them will help decrease the fixed fee. Therefore it’s worth checking the capacity of your main switch, a calculator on Elektrilevi’s home page can help. If a customer lowers the amperage of their main switch, the decreased calculation of the fixed fee will become effective right after the contract change has taken effect. It is possible to lower the amperage of your main switch until the end of March for free.
The decision about the capacity of the main switch and the need for a network contract should be made based on a longer-term perspective. For example, if a building which is currently empty is considered in a few years’ time that there will be a need for consuming electricity, then it’s wise to still keep the contract.
If the customer starts consuming more electricity than before at their place of consumption, it is worth reviewing your network package. It can be easily done on Elektrilevi’s e-service.