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ENKSZ to take customers, not unpaid bills, of power firms

Competition

Retail customers to be taken over by Hungary始s state-owned utilities company ENKSZ from other electricity distributors will have to settle their unpaid bills with their former service provider, the Prime Minister始s Office said in a statement late Tuesday. 

The office noted that legislation submitted by the government earlier in the week ensures that the service of customers that ENKSZ is taking over will not be interrupted. It added that customers whose power has been turned off due to unpaid bills must first settle up with their former service providers before their power is turned back on.

ENKSZ will soon take over the retail customers of electricity distributor ELM虐 and its sister company 脡M脕SZ under an agreement signed by the government and German owner RWE in the spring. ENKSZ is in talks with another market player, as well, state secretary Zsuzsa N茅meth said last week.

In addition to ELM虐 and 脡M脕SZ, the only other "universal service providers" 鈥 companies that provide households with electricity using a price structure and level controlled by the state 鈥 in Hungary are French-owned EDF D脡M脕SZ and German-owned E.ON.

ENKSZ launched services on the gas market last May, using F艖g谩z, also a former unit of RWE, as a bridgehead. Retail gas customers that ENKSZ took over also had to settle their overdue bills with their former service providers.

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