The Finnish Government has on 11 May 2017 put forward a Government Bill regarding a new Natural Gas Market Act to the Finnish Parliament. The legislation concerning the natural gas market is proposed to enter into force on 1 January 2018, whereas the provisions concerning the separation of the natural gas transmission network from the production and sale of natural gas and the provisions concerning opening the natural gas market for competition will enter into force on 1 January 2020.
The purpose of the Government Bill is to open the wholesale and retail natural gas markets for competition in the beginning of 2020. The new Natural Gas Market Act will bring about the separation of the natural gas transmission network of the transmission network operator from the production and sale of natural gas by 2020, using the so-called effective unbundling model in the EU Directive on the internal market for natural gas (2009/73/EC).
The Government Bill will improve the competitiveness of natural gas by less regulation concerning the wholesale and retail operations and distribution, as well as by abolishing the specific regulation regarding pricing of natural gas.
Furthermore, according to the Government Bill, provisions limiting unreasonable increases in the transmission and distribution fees of electricity and natural gas will be included in the Electricity Market Act and the new Natural Gas Market Act. The proposed maximum increase of fees is limited to an annual ceiling of 15% which, in addition, prohibits repeated 15% increases. The Finnish Energy Authority will monitor pricing and may intervene if violations are detected.