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“Slovenia: EIRO CAR on the Changing Business Landscape in the Electricity sector and Industrial Relations in Europe”

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Amendments to the Energy Act from 2008 set grounds for opening up the energy market in Slovenia. The main change was a separation of the regulated activity (transmission and distribution) from the market activity (sales). Due to the disagreement in 2009 with the governmental suggestion for the reorganization of distribution companies, the Trade Union of Energy Sector Workers of Slovenia (SDE) carried out a warning strike. In 2010, it announced another strike. Their main requests are still not taken into account by the government who is the majority owner of most of the energy generating and distributing companies in Slovenia.

1. General background information on the energy policy in your country and employment trends

1.1. Please explain briefly the main governmental strategies/action in relation to the electricity production and energy source mix. In your answer, please include information on the following aspects, where possible:

  • Is there an outspoken policy or plan in your country for any kind of change towards an increase or decrease of electricity production with any of the different sources (coal, oil, gas, hydro, eolic, sun, etc.)?
  • Which is the targeted energy mix for the future (see material provided)? How, in which subsequent steps, such targets are expected to be met?
  • Are investments in networks (new connections, upgrade) envisaged? To what extent? With which specific goals?
  • What is the Government stance and what are the ongoing/envisaged action towards generation of electricity from the different broad groups of sources: nuclear /fossile /renewable energy?
  • What are the recent employment trends in the different subsectors of power generation according to the different broad groups of sources: nuclear/fossile/renewable energy? Please indicate development since 2005 with reference to generation, disribution, and sale separately.

The latest draft proposal of the new Energy Act from June 24, 2011 brings into Slovene legislation provisions from nine European Directives and three Commission Regulations and provides a legal instrument to carry out the latest provisions of the National Energy Programme. The Resolution on the National Energy Programme that was adopted in 2004 and is still in force, set a goal for energy production from the renewable resources to 33,6% till 2010. The government realised in 2008 it will be difficult to reach this goal without the necessary amendments to the existing Energy Act. Therefore, the amendments to the act in 2008 set grounds for the new support scheme for the energy production from the renewable resources, which realized in the two main regulations: Regulation on issuing of the Declarations for the production units and of the Guaranties of Origin (2009) and Regulation on supports for the electricity generated from renewable energy sources (2009).

In the mid of 2010, Slovene government adopted the National Action Plan on the Renewable Energy for the Period 2010-2020. It provides detailed targets for the energy production till 2020 with estimated costs and benefits of the supports for the electricity generated from renewable energy sources. This action plan envisages increase in energy production from four main renewable sources: hydro, sun, eolic and biomass. From 2005 till 2020 the proposed increases are: hydro from 4099 GWh to 5121 GWh, sun from 0 GWh to 139 GWh, eolic from 0 GWh to 191 GWh and biomass from 114 GWh to 676 GWh.

National Energy Program for the Period 2010 - 2030 sets three main priority areas of action: efficient use of energy, exploitation of renewable resources and development of the transmission network. It sets the goal of 25% of energy from renewable resources till 2020 and 30% till 2030. The latest draft of the National Energy Program from May 2011 encompasses all the measures for carrying out both National Action Plans.

Pursuant to the Energy Act and the Decree on the method for the implementation of public service obligation relating to the electricity distribution system operator, Elektro-Slovenija, d.o.o. (ELES) is obliged to biannually prepare a plan of development of the transmission network for the forthcoming decade. In 2011, the public company ELES draw up the Transmission Network Development Plan 2011 to 2020 and was approved by the Ministry of Economy. It presents the expected condition of the energy system and required interventions into the transmission network which shall on the basis of envisaged construction of production units, expansion of distribution network and projection on the development of the European energy system continue to ensure reliable, safe and high-quality operation of the Slovenian transmission network. The main investments in the transmission network envisaged for this period will be in the construction of transmission lines, transformer stations and telecommunication lines. The total investments till 2020 will amount to 635 mio Euro.

In 2010 hydroelectric power plants and other renewable resources accounted for 34% of the total energy production, fossil fuels accounted for 31% and nuclear power for 35%. Slovene energy needs are higher than production facilities, therefore the Slovenian energy sector in 2011 continued to cover more than half of the energy needs with the sources from import (plan to reduce import to no more than 45 % till 2030). Progressive closing of domestic coal mines increases the import of different kinds of fuels. Coal transformation is present only in large thermal power plants with suitable water purification units. Domestic energy production in 2011 was covered mainly by lignite, brown coal, hydro energy, wood biomass and nuclear power. There has been some increase in production from solar power stations and biogas plants.

The government of the Republic of Slovenia is the majority owner of all the energy generating companies in Slovenia, except for the Krško Nuclear Power Plant, where it holds 50% of the equity stake (50% is in the hands of Croatian company Hrvatska elektroprivreda). Employments trends in the energy sector in the last 5 years are characterised by a slow increase in the number of employees in hydroelectric power plants, solar power stations and biogas plants and by a decrease in employment in thermal power plants and nuclear power plant.

Recent employment trends in the electricity sector indicate a continuous increase in employment from 2007 to 2010 in all of the subsectors with its peak in 2009. From 2009 to 2010 there was a decrease in employment in total, but not for all the subsectors. Employment in the subsector of power generation decreased in total mainly due to the decrease in the employment in the production of electricity in thermal power stations (fossil and nuclear). In the hydro and other RES production facilities, employment increased. Employment also decreased in the transmission and distribution activities, on the other hand it increased in the subsector of trade.

1.2. Government policy for increase of the share of renewable resources according to the RES directive

  • Are any subsidies being granted for different types of RES for electricity providers? If yes, please provide briefly the details
  • Have subsidies for RES been cut recently? Was this a result of the crisis, of budget constraints, or the result of a policy revision (following a policy assessment, due to a disporportionate use of subsidies, etc.)? Please provide brief details.
  • Are there any other forms of support foreseen for promoting electricity generation of RES?
  • Please include any other aspects you consider to be worth mentioning regarding the state of play and the future prospects of RES in your country.

The Slovene government provides support for an increase in the share of renewable resources by giving grants to the owners of the RES production units that fulfil the requirements from the Regulation on supports for the electricity generated from renewable energy sources (2009). Production machinery should hold valid declaration, it should be new or basically new and meet the sustainable measures for specific machinery. Types of RES included under the regulation are: hydro, eolic, sun, geothermal, biomass, biogas, landfill gas, wastewater treatment plants and biodegradable waste. Under this regulation, fixed buying-in prices (for 15 years) are specified for the purchasing of the electricity produced. Owners of the RES production units sign contract with Borzen d.o.o. company, responsible for giving grants and for the purchasing of the produced electricity. Amendments to the Energy Act from 2008 also provided grants system for the cogeneration plants (heat and power stations) with the Regulation on issuing of the Declarations for the production units and of the Guaranties of Origin (2009).

The Energy Agency has been operating since 2001. The latest legislative amendments in 2008 entrusted this energy regulator with additional responsibilities in the area of environmentally friendlier electricity production, as it now also issues declarations for production facilities, decisions on granting support and guarantees of the origin of electricity produced from renewable energy sources and in the efficient cogeneration of electricity and heat. In 2010, the first year when declarations and supports were granted all year round, the Agency issued 410 declarations for production facilities (55 hydro, 314 solar, 4 biogas, 10 other and 27 cogenerations) and 392 of them were included in the scheme of supports for the electricity generated from renewable energy sources. Out of 410, 285 production units were built, most of these were solar systems (276). By the end of 2010, these production units produced 995 GWh of electricity.

1.3. Are there any studies and documents assessing the employment impact of energy policies and of prospective changes in the energy mix within the electricity sector? This could include, for instance,

  • Employment effects resulting from the unbundling of activities (production from distribution)
  • Employment effects (on quantity and quality of work) resulting from the possible shifts within the electricity production sector from traditional sources to RES
  • Employment effects from investments in infrastructure (renewal of grids, introduction of smart meter technology, district heating)
  • The need for retraining of workers or provision of new qualifications linked to the sector transformations
  • Possible spatial mobility of workers as a result of more decentralised production (linked both to new activities and to restructuring of existing ones)
  • Please include any other aspects you consider to be worth mentioning regarding prospective impacts on employment and industrial relations

There are no official studies assessing the employment impact of energy policies and changes in the energy mix. However, national statistical data on employment in the electricity sector indicates an employment trend in the last years that was characterised by two main changes: unbundling of activities (transmission and distribution and sales) and recession. Amendments to the Energy Act from 2008 separated distribution, transmission and sales activities which resulted in the changes in employment. ELES, Slovene electricity distribution system operator, responsible for transmission activity, had a decrease in employment from 2009 to 2010 by 4.5%. In total, employment in the transmission activity resulted in a decrease of 4.2%. Even though the SODO, which is also Slovene electricity distribution system operator, responsible for distribution activity, had two more employees in 2010, compared to 2009 (21), employment in the distribution activity in total also resulted in a decrease (of 2%). There was also a decrease in employment in the generation of electricity from nuclear and fossil sources by 5%. On the other hand, employment in the subsector of renewable resources increased, in hydroelectric power plants by 0.5% and in electricity generators from other RES sources by 57%. Increase in employment was also noticed in the sales activity by 9.5%.

There is no evidence of direct employment effects from recent investments in infrastructure. There was a major investment planned for the increase of energetic efficiency of hospitals in Slovenia in the amount of 30 mio €, but has not been realised yet, due to the government savings.

1.4 To what extent are the social partners involved or consulted concerning the governmental energy policy, notably in relation to employment impacts? Has this happened on an ad-hoc basis or on a structural, permanent basis? Is there a special tripartite social dialogue body for such consultations? Did consultation take place at national level, at sector level, or at the initiative of individual companies? Please briefly provide details.

Social partners in the electricity sector are represented at the Economic and social council for the energy (ESOE). ESOE consists of 12 members; all three parties (governmental representatives in the field of energy, employers and employees) are equally represented by 4 members for the period of 3 years. ESOE monitors economic and social conditions in the sector and cooperates in the preparations of the legislation, provides recommendations and proposals for the legislative changes and initiatives for new regulations.

2. Composition, structure and employment trends for the different resources used for electricity production

2.1 Please give an overview of the current sectoral composition of electricity production in your country, by giving for each of these seven groups of energy sources, the NAME of the three largest producing, the NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES of these companies, and the public or private STATUS of the EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP with their employees.

For all companies listed, as a summary, please indicate:

  1. Total production and its distribution across different energy sources
  2. Total employment and its distribution across different energy sources
  3. Production plants and their respective energy source(s)

All companies use only one of the listed groups of energy sources.

Electricity production

Electricity production with

TOP 3

PRODUCING COMPANIES

(the largest 3 in market share)

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

Reference year for the number of employees

Private/Public STATUS of WORKERS

FOSSIL FUELS

Termoelektrarna Šoštanj d.o.o.

488

2010

Private

Termoelektrarna Trbovlje d.o.o.

209

2010

Private

Termoelektrarna Brestanica d.o.o.

112

2010

Private

NUCLEAR

Nuklearna elektrarna Krško d.o.o.

591

2010

Private

       
       
HYDRO

Dravske elektrarne Maribor d.o.o.

282

2010

Private

Soške elektrarne Nova Gorica d.o.o.

126

2010

Private

Hidroelektrarne na Spodnji Savi d.o.o.

26

2010

Private

WIND

E3 d.o.o.

7

2010

Private

       
       
BIOMASS

Merkscha furnirnica d.o.o.

137

2010

Private

Novoles d.d.

630

2010

 

Tisa d.o.o.

50

2010

Private

PHOTO-VOLTAIC

Impol-Montal d.o.o.

1

2010

Private

Vesol d.o.o.

0

2010

Private

KETER INVEST energetika d.o.o.

11

2010

Private

2.2 Please provide an overview of the current oganisation of electricity distribution in your country. Is there a single distributing company/body? Are there multiple companies? At national or territorial level?

In Slovenia, there are two main companies, responsible for the maintenance and development of national electricity network, Elektro Slovenija d.o.o. (ELES) and Electricity Distribution System Operator SODO, d. o. o. (Ltd.). The founder and the sole owner of both companies is the Republic of Slovenia. ELES, an electricity distribution system operator, has the exclusive right to perform the public service of the transmission network system operator in Slovenia and is responsible for electricity transmission, while SODO, an electricity distribution system operator, is responsible for the distribution of electricity. SODO operates on a service concession and manages the national electricity distribution since 2008. The existing five distribution companies remained the owners of the electricity network and now lease the lines to SODO. Electricity became a sales good in 2008 and since then new distribution companies entered the market. In order to compete on the market, the existing companies needed to establish the sales business activity. This means that each customer has a right to choose an electricity distributing company andsigns a sale agreement with a chosen supplier and a contract for the network access with SODO. In 2009, no company had a dominant position (over 40%) in the distribution activity. The top 3 distributing companies had 29% (Elektro Ljubljana d.o.o.), 15% (Elektro Maribor d.o.o.) and 14% (Gen I d.o.o.) market shares.

2.3 Please indicate the NAME of the three largest distributing companies, the NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES of these companies, and the public or private STATUS of the EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP with their employees.

Distribution companies
 

TOP 3

DISTRIBUTING COMPANIES

(the largest 3 in market share)

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

Reference year for the number of employees

Private/Public STATUS of WORKERS

Distribution GRID

Elektro Ljubljana d.o.o.

984

2010

Private

Elektro Maribor d.o.o.

819

2010

Private

Gen I d.o.o.

89

2010

Private

2.4. Where there any significant developments/changes since 2008 for a specific company or source of electricity production in numbers of employees or in their public/private status? Was this due to the current economic crisis? Were there any instances of unbundling or mergers? With what consequences in terms of employment and industrial relations?

No major changes for specific companies in terms of number of employees or their employment status.

3. Industrial relations in the electricity sector: Actors

4. Please provide details on the membership in the electricity sector and membership of the top 3 producing and distributing companies in employer’s organisation (see questions 2.1-2.3 above). Please provide information on the name of the trade unions organising in this subsector and the level of their membership, or otherwise provide overall data but please include indications on differences in membership densities across subsectors.

Trade union representation and Membership to employers’ organisation

Electricity production with

FOSSIL FUELS

Termoelektrarna Šoštanj d.o.o.

Energy Industry Chamber

The Trade Union of Energy Sector Workers of Slovenia (SDE)

Data not available for public

Termoelektrarna Trbovlje d.o.o.

Energy Industry Chamber

Termoelektrarna Brestanica d.o.o.

Energy Industry Chamber

NUCLEAR

Nuklearna elektrarna Krško d.o.o.

Energy Industry Chamber

The Trade Union of Energy Sector Workers of Slovenia (SDE)

Data not available for public

   
   
HYDRO

Dravske elektrarne Maribor d.o.o.

Energy Industry Chamber

The Trade Union of Energy Sector Workers of Slovenia (SDE)

Data not available for public

Soške elektrarne Nova Gorica d.o.o.

Energy Industry Chamber

Hidroelektrarne na Spodnji Savi d.o.o.

Energy Industry Chamber

WIND

E3 d.o.o.

Energy Industry Chamber

Data not available for public

   
   
BIOMASS

Merkscha furnirnica d.o.o.

 

Data not available for public

Novoles d.d.

 

Tisa d.o.o.

 
PHOTO-VOLTAIC

Impol-Montal d.o.o.

 

Data not available for public

Vesol d.o.o.

 

KETER INVEST energetika d.o.o.

 
And in the distributing companies

Distribution GRID

companies

Elektro Ljubljana d.o.o.

Energy Industry Chamber

The Trade Union of Energy Sector Workers of Slovenia (SDE)

Data not available for public

Elektro Maribor d.o.o.

Energy Industry Chamber

Gen I d.o.o.

Energy Industry Chamber

3.2 To what extent are employees in the different subsectors (fossil/nuclear/RES) covered by trade union representation? Has there been any impact of the crisis on trade union representation?

The Trade Union of Energy Sector Workers of Slovenia (SDE) was primarily covering the subsectors of fossil, nuclear and hydro electricity producers and electricity distributing companies. Recent changes in the increase in the share of RES have not shown yet any impact on the trade union representation.

3.3 Have there been major reorganisations/splits/mergers of trade unions or employers organisations in the sector during the last five years?

In 2008, the employers' association covering the electricity sector at the Chamber of Commerce reorganized into the Energy Industry Chamber of Slovenia (EZS). Both chambers signed a contract on cooperation and transfer of activities from the Chamber of Commerce to the Energy Industry Chamber. Energy Industry Chamber is representative social partner on the side of the employers in different energy industry sectors. In 2010, the chamber had 68 member organizations that represented 5.7% of all revenues of Slovene economy and 2% of all employees in Slovenia (in 2009).

3.4. Have new actors (trade unions or employers organisations) been founded in recent years, especially in the newly evolving RES industries? Or is the industry covered by established actors?

In recent years, no new actors have been founded in the electricity sector. Members of the Energy Industry Chamber come from different activities in the electricity sector (generators, distributors and traders of the electricity) and the chamber also represents to a certain extent different broad groups of energy sources (fossil fuels, nuclear, hydro, wind).

3.5. Have the established sectoral actors (both trade unions and employer organisations) started any initiative to extend their representation to the new emerging parts of the sector? Please describe such initiatives and their results so far.

Energy Industry Chamber to certain extent also covers different broad groups of energy sources (fossil fuels, nuclear, hydro, wind).

4. Role of collective bargaining and social dialogue

4.1 Please provide information on the structure of collective bargaining in the electricity sector. Please, briefly mention the main characteristics of collective bargaining:

  • At what level are collective agreements within the subsectors of the electricity sector (traditional providers, newly emerging providers) concluded (company, sectoral level and/or inter-sectoral level)? Is there a difference between the producers and the distributors?
  • Estimate the coverage rate of collective bargaining in terms of companies and employees: are there any differences in coverage across different subsectors of electricity production?

The structure of collective bargaining in the electricity sector in Slovenia was marked with the Collective agreement of electro-economy of Slovenia, signed by the government (Ministry of Economy) and the Trade Union of Energy Sector Workers of Slovenia (SDE) in 1996. This agreement has been amended three times (2004, 2005 and 2007) so far, each time for the adjustment of wages in this sector with the wage policy in the private sector. At the same time, most of the producers and distributors sign company collective agreements with the same trade union, where specific benefits like the level of holiday pay are negotiated.

The Collective agreement of electro-economy of Slovenia is valid for all the employees who are employed in companies that perform electricity production, transfer or distribution for profit or as a public utility service.

4.2 Please comment on the most recent collective agreements reached at sector level and at company level. Please address the following topics:

  • Pay and working time: level and trends relative to the national average and significant differences across subsectors of the electricity industry.

The Collective agreement of electro-economy of Slovenia regulates the increase of gross wages in the electricity sector every 3 months, amounting to 85% of the level of inflation. Average gross wage in the energy sector in 2010 was 2,007.55 €, which was 2.9% higher than in 2009 and 34.3% higher than the average wage in Slovenia. The main reasons for the high wages in this sector in 2010 were the high qualification structure of employees in specific companies, shift work and Sunday work and work on holidays.

Across the subsectors of energy production, the highest average wage in 2010 was in the nuclear subsector (2,600€), compared with the fossil and hydro electricity generators (85%). Average wage was even lower in the sector of electricity distribution (65%).

4.3. Cooperation between the social partners and government

  • Have the government started any social dialogue or social concentration in the electricity sector since 2008? Please illustrate the features and results of any such initiatives.
  • Have bipartite and/or tripartite bodies dealing with specific issues of the electricity industry been created since 2008?
  • Have there been since 2008 any joint initiatives of cooperation between social partners to influence or steer the energy policy developed by the government in your country? Or have such initiatives been taken separately by certain social partner organisations?
  • Have the social partners been involved in the making of the national action plan to reach the 2020 target, or in issues aiming to secure the supply of enough electricity?

Since 2008, social dialogue depended mostly on the initiatives by the Minister of the Economy at that time.

Since 2008, social dialogue in the sector was initiated by the Ministry for Economic affairs. According to the president of the Trade union of energy industry in Slovenia, social dialogue in the electricity sector broke down in 2010, since no minister managed to reorganize this sector so that the customer would get the cheapest, qualitative and secure electricity supply. The main fear of the trade union is that the trading side of the electricity sector would be sold out and that distribution activity would be placed in the hands of the specific contractors. The trade union wants to ensure, that despite the necessary reorganization of the companies no employees would be made redundant.

In 2008, Ministry of Economy, Energy Industry Chamber of Slovenia and the trade union of the energy industry in Slovenia concluded an agreement on the rules of conduct of the Economic and social council for the energy (ESOE).

The Trade Union of Energy Sector Workers of Slovenia (SDE) has in recent years actively called upon the government to provide negotiation team (experts) on the governmental side. Due to the disagreement in 2009 with the governmental suggestion for the reorganization of distribution companies, the trade union carried out a two hours warning strike in three producing companies (in a nuclear company the work was not interrupted) and five distributors. They requested for the companies to withdraw the reorganization issues from the agenda of shareholders meeting and for the future changes of the energy sector proposed by the government to be based upon an appropriate social dialogue with employees' representatives.

In 2010, the Trade Union of Energy Sector Workers of Slovenia (SDE)announced another strike, in case their main requests would not be taken into account: to terminate reorganization of the distributing companies, to establish appropriate level of social dialogue, to replace the director of the Energy Directorate (at the Ministry of Economy) and to conclude a collective agreement that would regulate the field of voluntary pension insurance. The strike was cancelled 2 days before. In December 2011, a strike took place in the Elektro Primorska company. Since then, some companies were sold, in some companies employees have not received wages for some months and some companies are just about to be closed. According to the vice-president of the Trade Union of Energy Sector Workers of Slovenia, this situation is about to lead to a major strike in this sector.

4.4. Please provide information about the views of the trade unions and employer organisations on the main changes regarding employment and working conditions affecting the sector since 2008 and especially on the impact of the current crisis (for instance on employment trends, quality of jobs, working hours, wages, fixed-term employment, part-time, temporary agency work, participation in training, outsourcing, subcontracting etc.).

In March 2011, employers in general were most optimistic about the employment trends in the production sector and in the sector of electricity supply. According to the Trade Union of Energy Sector Workers of Slovenia (SDE), the main problem in the electricity sector are not the wages, but a struggle against the arbitrary intervention of politics and privatization of the companies or some of the activities which may lead to major dismissals. The main priorities of this trade union that still remain are social security and employment perspective of their members and other employees in the energy sector. Due to the current crisis, in March 2012 the Minister of the Economy requested for the limitations on spending in the electricity sector companies, which resulted mostly in reductions of holiday pay.

5. Commentary

The electricity sector is seen as an employer in Slovenia with high potentials. In 2008 there were 1158 job vacancies for energy electricians while in 2009 there were 642. For the energy electric technician in 2008 there were 375 job vacancies, while 115 in 2009. Each year new jobs are created, new study fields are opened and new innovative companies are established. The main changes happened on the retail electricity market, where new entrants shuffled the position of the existing companies and forced them to invest in education and training of their employees in order to fulfil the needs resulting from the unbundling of transmission, distribution and sales activities.

Helena Kovačič, Organizations and Human Resources Research Center

Page last updated: 15 November, 2012
About this document
  • ID: SI1202021Q
  • Author: Helena Kovačič
  • Institution: Organizations and Human Resources Research Center
  • Country: Slovenia
  • Language: EN
  • Publication date: 15-11-2012
  • Sector: Electrical