LJUBLJANA, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Slovenian Parliament on Tuesday approved state guarantees totaling 1.6 billion euros (1.6 billion U.S. dollars) for loans to the country's main energy firms to provide them with sufficient liquidity to purchase electricity and natural gas amid rapidly rising energy prices.
The guarantees to the three state-owned companies were approved by 63 of the 90 deputies.
Energy producer and trader HSE Group will receive state guarantees for loans of up to 800 million euros. Another energy producer and trader, GEN Energija, as well as natural gas trader Geoplin will receive guarantees for loans of up to 400 million euros each. The state will guarantee up to 80 percent of these loans. The guarantees to Geoplin are designated for loans for purchases of gas outside the European Union.
"The purpose of this law is to enable these energy firms reliable access to short-term liquidity resources ... which will ensure stability and reliability to energy users in Slovenia," Tina Sersen, state secretary at the Infrastructure Ministry, told Parliament before the vote.
The deputies also adopted a separate law that will, until the end of 2025, increase the power of the government to control energy supplies and distribution in case of an energy crisis. The law also gives the government the power to reduce heating in public institutions and switch off lighting in public spaces if necessary.
Parliament passed the measures ahead of the heating season, which in Slovenia usually lasts from October until next April. (1 euro = 1 U.S. dollar) ■