June 4, 2016 / 3:11 PM / 3 years ago

Polish power grid operator confirms it is limiting power imports from Lithuania

WARSAW, June 4 (Reuters) - Polish electricity grid operator PSE confirmed on Saturday that it had imposed nightly limits on importing power supply from Lithuania, saying the decision was for technical reasons and only temporary.

Reuters had reported on Friday that energy market regulators in Poland and Lithuania are investigating whether PSE is breaking European Union rules by limiting Lithuanian imports.

Their investigation followed a request by Estonia’s state-owned power group Eesti Energia.

“In response to the technical restrictions that - for the sake of safety of the national electricity system - PSE must impose at night time, they are of indiscriminatory character, proportional (...) and temporary,” PSE said in a statement.

“PSE’s intention is to eliminate those restrictions as soon as possible.”

Legal experts say the restrictions, which are adding to tensions between Poland’s eurosceptic government and the European Commission, could be in breach of EU market rules.

The EU wants to see electricity flowing freely across the bloc without technical or regulatory barriers, to help reduce prices for consumers and ensure security of supply.

Lithuania and Poland started power transactions on their first 500-megawatt link in December.

PSE has said that unregulated power imports “can destabilise the system” at night, when demand is low. Polish government officials have said it was necessary to protect its coal power plants, the source of 80 percent of the country’s electricity, from imports of “cheap, subsidised electricity”. (Reporting by Adrian Krajewski; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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