Cover Up? Missing UOKiK document

On May 30, 2014, the Ministry of Economy was reported to have decided not to notify the European Commission on the new law on renewable energy.  The Ministry released a group of documents from the Competition Bureau which allegedly supported their conclusion that notification of the bill as state aid was not required. See Original article.

I jumped on the documents and downloaded them (a bulky pdf image file of 30 pages). Part of the bundle was a June 5, 2012 letter from the former head of UOKiK to the Ministry of Economy. That letter actually concluded that green certificates were state aid, that they had to be notified, and that they had to be levelized to reflect the actual costs of production across technologies. Following that letter, the Ministry proposed the October 2012 version of the RES laws which implemented those recommendations, including phasing out aid for co-firing and old hydro plants.

We all know that the next thing that happened was the Finance Minister intervened and directed that the bill be changed entirely.

Now that the European Commission is on to this problem and investigating the same issues described in the June 5, 2012 letter, the same letter mysteriously disappeared from the Ministry's website and link. This left blank pages in the faxed sequence included in the pdf document (pages 12-14 out of the thirty-page sequence faxed from UOKiK to MG). If any readers also downloaded the UOKiK letters at the time (June 2014), I would appreciate them contacting me and sending a full pdf file and their download date if available. It will be interesting to see how many copies of the June 5, 2012 letter got retained. For the truly brave, just send an email with the file to the DG Competition, European Commission, Brussels

NOTE: For the truly inquisitive, the June 5, 2012 letter refers to a March 29, 2006 UOKiK letter on the subject of notification. Presumably that also advised that notification of Brussels was necessary, at the same time the rest of the Polish Government ignored the advice.

UPDATE: July 26, 2014 - the Ministry also seems to have removed a November 2013 letter from the web from Margaret Anna KrasnodÄ™bska-Tomkiel, then head of UOKiK, that explained the state aid problems in the new law related to auctions. Her biggest point was that Green Certificates would continue and existing facilities could opt to continue them or go into the auction. And since the certificates were clearly state aid according to UOKiK's numerous letters to the MG, the new system had to be notified (the GBER exemption did not cover the system). She also mentioned in this letter that the Commission had told UOKiK that certificates were state aid. UOKiK also had advised the MG on several occasions that aid had to be based on the costs of production across technologies. New article will be forthcoming on these developments!  


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