Updated | PN motion calls for full transparency on energy agreements

Nationalist Party presents motion to House Speaker Anglu Farrugia over publication of documents related to the energy sector  • Government reiterates that Electrogas guarantee a temporary solution pending clearance from European Commission 

Opposition presents motion to House Speaker Anglu Farrugia • Photo by Ray Attard
Opposition presents motion to House Speaker Anglu Farrugia • Photo by Ray Attard
Nationalist Party presents motion to House Speaker Anglu Farrugia over publication of documents related to the energy sector

The Nationalist Party presented a parliamentary motion to Speaker Anglu Farrugia calling for the publication of documents on an unprecedented banking guarantee that government provided for ElectroGas, the private consortium that will build the new gas plant in Delimara.

Deputy party leader Mario De Marco pointed out that the government had a duty to publish anything related to the energy sector, one of the most wide-reaching sectors on the island. “We are asking the government to publish all agreements and contracts related to Enemalta plc’s hedging agreement with SOCAR, one of the stakeholders behind ElectroGas,” de Marco added.

The PN is insisting that energy minister Konrad Mizzi publish a copy of the expression of interest, and request for proposals related to the Delimara gas plant.

The motion was also presented by shadow energy minister Marthese Portelli and shadow economy minister Claudio Grech and Whip David Agius.

“The minister should also publish any agreements signed with ElectroGas and any related stakeholders about the rates and conditions stipulated in the power purchasing agreement,” De Marco added.

He pointed out that the agreement had bound Malta to purchases gas for 18 years but that none of the requested documents had been published yet.

The party also urged Mizzi to give an indication when the new power station would finally be operational. “We also urges the government to publish documents related to the  €88 million banking guarantee signed and to explain what would happen to these public funds should the European Commission rule this move as contrary to the rules governing state aid.”

Claudio Grech pointed out that the government had kept the agreement under wraps, and that this had only been revealed in the press.

The government authorised an €88 million bank guarantee to cover a massive bank loan for the private consortium selected to build the new gas power station

De Marco added that the government ought to publish documents showing what the financial cost of the delay of operations for the new power station will be.

On his part, Speaker Anglu Farrugia said that he could only request the presentation of these document. “I believe that in a true democracy, all documents should be presented to the chamber for scrutiny,” he stressed.

In a reaction, the Energy Ministry accused the Opposition of being bothered by the way the government has managed to turn the energy sector around and said it is eager to discuss recent energy developments in Parliament.

The Ministry reiterated that the guarantee is a temporary solution until the government receives clearance from the European Commission that the Security of Supply Agreement it had entered into with Electrogas satisfies EU requirements.

“Government support through the Security of Supply Agreement was an intrinsic part of the competitive process which led to the award to Electrogas,” the Ministry said in a statement. “The temporary financing mechanism is being supported by Government and the Shareholders of Electrogas through a Government Guarantee and Letters of Credit respectively.

“The Guarantee was issued in accordance with the Commission Notice on State Aid in the form of Guarantees and was approved by the State Aid Monitoring Board. The Guarantee followed due process.”

“The Nationalist Party is still in denial on the results achieved and still cannot accept that tariffs have been reduced for families and businesses."