EU says no to joint Estonian-Finnish LNG terminal project

EU has rejected the proposal to finance the development of joint LNG terminal projects proposed by the Estonian company Alexela Energia and Finland’s Gasum Oy, writes Eesti Päevaleht.

The EU did not agree to cover the extra costs that carrying out the project jointly with Gasum would have entailed and this is why the cooperation plan failed.

However, Alexela said it will go on with LNG terminal plan also without EU support , but this means completion of the terminal will be postponed.

Read more from BBN

Estlink 2 will be down for planned maintenance

Estlink 2, the larger of the two undersea cables connecting the Estonian and Finnish power systems, will be down for planned maintenance from October 12 to October 21.

Elering, the electricity grid operator, has announced that in co-operation with the cable supplier Nexans Norway, they have found a solution to the problem that caused disruptions in August and September.

The changing of the current failure-prone joints against more water-resistance ones will be undertaken by four specialist units from Nexans Norway, who will work simultaneously to ensure a minimum period of disruption.

The works are planned in a way that would allow the changing of the joints to be stopped and the connection to be resumed within 24 hours if such need arises.

Repairs are covered by the warranty.

Source: ERR News

Estonia dependent on Russian gas

A study made in the Ministry of Economic Affairs shows that if Gazprom were to stop supplying gas to Estonia, the country would have a gas supply for only five days, writes Eesti Päevaleht.

Read more from BBN

One Estlink cable out of commission

Estlink 2, the larger of the two undersea cables connecting the Estonian and Finnish power systems, went down early on Friday morning. Experts hope to find out why this week.

Elering, the Estonian TSO, announced that preliminary analysis showed that a short-circuit had occurred.

Representatives of Nexans, the cable company, will arrive in Estonia on Wednesday to troubleshoot.

Estlink 1 is still up and running and can carry 342 MW to Estonia and 358 MW to Finland.

Source: ERR News

Tallinn street lights on off- mode

Back in the downturn of last decade, the city of Tallinn started turning off streetlights to save money. Five years later, 25 percent of the city remains dark at night.

Seven thousand of the city’s 55,000 streetlights remain off at all times. And another 7,000 lights in parks, parking garages and less frequented areas are off by midnight, ERR radio reported.

The Kadriorg district, which encompasses largely more gentrified neighborhoods, is cited as a particular problem.

“Kadriorg is completely dark,” said a resident, who identified himself by his first name, Sten.

Another resident, Svea, said she didn’t find lighting lacking city-wide, but added: “But when I think about it as a Kadriorg resident, when you take a walk at night, the lights could be on longer.”

An official with the city’s utilities department, Tarmo Sulg, said he couldn’t promise when the lights would be switched back on, but said the will existed.

“The 2015 budget is being drafted and it’s early to say what will be switched back on and what will not.”

The City of Tallinn said it saves about 1 million euros a year in electricty by using the current mode. The city of Pärnu switched back to normal mode only one year ago, while Tartu never cut back on lights.

Internationally, research has been divided on whether less light translates automatically into more crime.

Source: ERR News

June prices were influenced by cheap electricity

According to Statistics Estonia, the change of the consumer price index in June 2014 was 0.0% compared to May 2014 and –0.4% compared to June of the previous year.

Goods were 0.3% more expensive compared to June 2013 and services were 1.5% cheaper.

Regulated prices of goods and services have risen by 0.7% and non-regulated prices have fallen by 0.7% compared to June of the previous year.

Compared to June 2013, the consumer price index was influenced the most by electricity. In June 2014, the electricity that arrived at homes was 13% cheaper than in June last year, when the price of electricity was record-high. Compared to June of the previous year, 4.1% more expensive alcoholic beverages, 6% more expensive tobacco, 13% cheaper mobile communication services and 7% more expensive dairy products also had a bigger impact on the index. Motor fuel was 0.8% more expensive than in the same month last year. Compared to June 2013, of food products, the prices of processed fruit have increased the most (11%) and the prices of sugar and apples have decreased the most (31% and 23%, respectively).

The last time that the annual change of the consumer price index was below –0.4% was in the period of June 2009 to January 2010, when it ranged from –0.7% to –2.2%.

In June compared to May, the consumer price index was mainly influenced by 1.3% more expensive motor fuel, 10.8% more expensive accommodation services and 0.3% cheaper food (mainly due to the 4% cheaper fresh vegetables). Compared to May, the prices of sweet pepper increased the most (20%) and the prices of Chinese cabbage and tomatoes decreased the most (27% and 26%, respectively).

Change of the consumer price index by commodity groups, June 2014
Commodity group June 2013 –
June 2014, %
May 2014 –
June 2014, %
TOTAL -0.4 0.0
Food and non-alcoholic beverages -0.3 -0.2
Alcoholic beverages and tobacco 4.6 -0.6
Clothing and footwear 1.1 -0.4
Housing -3.4 0.4
Household goods 0.3 -0.4
Health 3.1 0.2
Transport -1.2 0.3
Communications -5.7 -0.5
Recreation and culture 1.8 -0.1
Education -14.3 0.5
Hotels, cafés and restaurants 4.9 2.2
Miscellaneous goods and services 1.8 -0.2

Source: Statistics Estonia

The stealthy privatization of Eesti Energia

Last spring, when Minister of Finance Jürgen Ligi allocated Eesti Energia under the his governance (beforehand it was the subject of the Ministry of Economic Affairs), he pointed out that the issue of privatization concerning Eesti Energia is in a dire need of investigation and needs to be handled step-by-step.

As it happens to appear, Eesti Energia has been privatized “step-by-step”, writes Harry Tuul of the business daily Äripäev. Sandor Liive, the head of Eesti Energia has in the time span of five years sold partnerships of five firms, the majority to private enterprises. The most recent transaction saw the birth of Võrguehitus, which is company to focusing on the building of electrical and communication networks. The contract was signed with Leonhard Weiss, of German origin, and amounted to 7 million euros.

In addition to this, in 2012 Televõrgu stocks were sold to Tele2 and Kohtla-Järve Soojus, and the majority of shares were sold to the Viru Keemia Grupp. Two transactions have been also sealed with the state. In 2010 Elering was sold and last year when the associate company Estlink’s assets were sold to Elering and Fingrid.

From a business standpoint, these deals are reasonably well considered and a sensible arrangement, where Eesti Energia focuses on its main objectives and delegates the less important and profitable projects to other companies. Due to the fact that Eesti Energia is a public company, every transaction will be carefully investigated – just like listed companies for which investors and the public show a heightened interest. Although contrary to publicly listed companies, the state owned Eesti Energia presents its partial privatization to its investors as fact in hindsight. Justification as well as the effects to the company value is secondary.

The most efficient cure for this kind of behavior is to base one’s actions on the stock exchange rule. The plan to take Eesti Energia to the stock exchange, which was on its homestretch during 2010-11, was shot down by former Prime Minister Andrus Ansip. In vain, Tuul writes.

Source: ERR News

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