ЗАКОН РЕСПУБЛИКИ БЕЛАРУСЬ

 

(Unofficial translation)

 

Law of the Republic of Belarus

December 16, 2002 No 162-Z

[Amended as of December 31, 2014]

On natural monopolies

Adopted by the House of Representatives on November 15, 2002

Approved by the Council of Republic on December 2, 2002

 

This Law determines the legal bases of regulation of the public relations arising in the spheres of  natural monopolies at the markets of services of the Republic of Belarus and is directed at achieving the balance of interests of consumers and natural monopoly entities, which ensures the accessibility of services being rendered to the consumers and effective functioning of the natural monopoly entities.

CHAPTER 1
GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1. Main terms used in this Law and their definitions

For the purposes of this Law the following main terms and their definitions are used:

natural monopoly – the state of the market of services under which the creation of competition conditions to satisfy the demand for a particular type of services is impossible or economically unreasonable because of technological peculiarities of the production and rendering of this type of services;

rendering of services – rendering (provision) of services being the objects of civil law;

consumer—a civil law subject using or having an intention to use services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies;

market of services – a market on which the services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies are offered;

natural monopoly entity – an economic entity rendering services referred to the sphere of natural monopoly;

sphere of natural monopolies – a sphere of offering services referred by legislation to natural monopoly, in which a consumer may acquire such services;

service – an activity the results of which are not materially perceived, but realized and consumed in the process of carrying out this activity, as well as a good being produced (realized) in the conditions of natural monopolies;

economic entities – legal persons and individual entrepreneurs carrying out entrepreneurial activity and (or) having the right to carry it out.

Article 2. Scope of application of this Law

This Law is applied to the relations in the spheres of natural monopolies.

If  a treaty of the Republic of Belarus establishes other rules than those contained in this Law, the rules of the treaty are applied.

CHAPTER 2
ACTIVITY OF NATURAL MONOPOLY ENTITIES

Article 3. Spheres of the Natural Monopolies

The spheres of natural monopolies are recognized to be:

transportation of oil and mineral oils through main pipe lines;

transportation of gas through main and service pipe lines;

transfer and distribution of the electric and heat energy;

central water supply and water drainage;

services of telecommunications and postal communication of general use;

services of the public rail road transport rendered using the infrastructure of the public rail road transport, rail road carriage;

services of the transport terminals and airports;

air navigation services.

Article 4. Rights of natural monopoly entities

Natural monopoly entities are entitled:

to submit to the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities the suggestions on the questions concerning their activity and legal status;

to apply, in the order established by the legislation of the Republic of Belarus, to the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities with the request to exclude them from the Sate Register of Natural Monopoly Entities;

to appeal in the court actions (omission) of the body regulating the activity of the natural monopoly entities contradicting the legislation;

to have other rights in accordance with the legislation.

Article 5. Duties of natural monopoly entities

Natural monopoly entities are obliged:

to grant equal conditions to consumers of services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies, with the exception of the instances, when the legislation of the Republic of Belarus allows the granting of privileges to certain categories of consumers;

to ensure quality service to consumers;

to observe requirements of the technical normative legal acts in the sphere of technical regulation and standardization, indices of safety and quality of services, and also license requirements and conditions in case if the kinds of entrepreneurial activity carried out by them are subject to licensing;

to apply the most effective methods and technologies of rendering services subject to observance of the public safety principle and principle of safety for life, health, property of citizens, property of legal persons and environment;

to execute decisions of the body regulating the activity of the natural monopoly entities adopted in accordance with its competence;

to submit data on their activity to the body regulating the activity of the natural monopoly entities in the order and within the time limits established by this body, and also other information necessary for carrying out its powers provided by this Law;

to carry out other duties in accordance with the legislation.

Article 6. Restriction of activity of natural monopoly entities

Natural monopoly entities, except for the instances established by the legislative acts, are not entitled:

to perform actions that lead or may lead to impossibility of rendering services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies or to their replacement with other services;

to refuse to conclude  a contract on rendering services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies with certain consumers when they have a technical possibility to render such services;

to collect payment exceeding the amount established by the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities or other state body authorized thereto by the acts of the President of the Republic of Belarus for services being rendered;

to force on consumers the terms of access to services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies;

to perform other actions (omission) leading to impairment of rights of consumers and (or) contradicting the legislation.

CHAPTER 3
STATE REGULATION IN THE SPHERE OF NATURAL MONOPOLIES

Article 7. Principles of state regulation of activity of natural monopoly entities

The state regulation of the activity of the natural monopoly entities is carried out on the basis of the following principles:

publicity, openness, continuity, objectivity and transparency of the use of procedures of state regulation, independence of decisions being taken;

targeting nature of the state regulation, its orientation to the specific natural monopoly entity;

securing the protection of the rights of consumers, including from violations related to the application of prices (tariffs) by natural monopoly entities;

observance of the balance of interests of consumers and natural monopoly entities, ensuring accessibility of services, an appropriate level of their quality for consumers, effective functioning and development of natural monopoly entities;

increase of effectiveness of state regulation aimed at reducing the number of spheres of natural monopolies via creating conditions for the development of competition in these spheres;

application of flexible regulation of prices (tariffs) in the spheres of natural monopolies having regard to sectoral peculiarities, scale of activities of natural monopoly entities, market conditions, medium-term (long-term) state, sectoral and regional programs;

introduction of state regulation in the instances when on the basis of the analysis of the respective market of services it has been established that this market is in a state of natural monopoly;

reducing barriers to entry into the markets of services and providing access to services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies;

obligation for natural monopoly entities to conclude contracts with consumers on rendering services in relation to which the state regulation is applied when there is a technical possibility to render such services;

ensuring the observance by natural monopoly entities of the rules for providing access of consumers to services relating to the sphere of natural monopolies, and conditions of connecting (joining, using) to them;

ensuring the conformity of established prices (tariffs) with the quality of services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies, which are subject to state regulation;

creation of economic conditions under which it is profitable for natural monopoly entities to reduce costs, to introduce new technologies, to improve the efficiency of investments.

Article 8. Methods of state regulation of activity of natural monopoly entities

The state regulation of the activity of the natural monopoly entities is carried out on the basis by the following methods:

regulation of prices (tariffs) on services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies;

determining the categories of consumers subject to obligatory service by the natural monopoly entities, and (or) by fixing the minimal level of their provision with services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies, in case of impossibility to satisfy in full the need in these services;

regulating access to services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies, including the establishment in cases provided by the legislation of the fee for connection to (joining, using) such services or the methodology of its determination.

Regulation of prices (tariffs) for services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies may be carried out by the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities, unless otherwise established by the acts of the President of the Republic of Belarus, via determination of fixed or limit prices (tariffs) for natural monopoly entities and via definition of the order of determination and application of prices (tariffs).

At regulating the prices (tariffs), the following is taken into consideration:

compensation of economically reasonable costs related to carrying out the regulated activity to natural monopoly entities;

receiving economically reasonable profit;

stimulation of natural monopoly entities to decrease expenses;

formation of prices (tariffs) on services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies with regard to the quality of the services rendered.

At regulating the prices (tariffs), the following may be taken into consideration:

value of fixed assets intended for rendering services, the need for investments necessary for their reproduction;

peculiarities of the functioning of natural monopolies, including those fixed in the technical regulations;

measures of state support and other preferences;

market conditions, including the level of prices (tariffs) in non-regulated segments of the market;

development plans of territories;

state fiscal, tax, environmental and social policy;

energy efficiency measures and ecological aspects;

remoteness of various groups of consumers from the point of rendering of services.

Determining the categories of the consumers subject to obligatory service by the natural monopoly entities is carried out by the Government of the Republic of Belarus and (or) republican bodies of state administration authorized by it and also at regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities in separate regions – by respective local executive and administrative bodies. 

At regulating prices (tariffs) for services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies, it is envisaged that during the formation of costs of the natural monopoly entity  the separate accounting of expenditures, investments, as well as income and involved assets according to types of such services, is carried out in the order established by legislation.

Rules for ensuring consumer access to services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies, and the conditions of connection to (joining, using) them are established by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus.

Article 9. Body regulating activity of natural monopoly entities

The body regulating the activity of the natural monopoly entities is a republican body of state administration on which in accordance with the legislation the functions on ensuring the counteraction to the monopolistic activity and promotion of competition are imposed.

If the activity of the natural monopoly entities subject to regulation in accordance with this Law is directed at satisfaction of the need of a certain region, the functions of regulation of the activity of the natural monopoly entities determined by this Law may be delegated in the order established by the legislation to local executive and administrative bodies.

Article 10. Functions of the body regulating activity of natural monopoly entities

The body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities, within its competence:

forms and conducts the State Register of the Natural Monopoly Entities;

carries out, unless otherwise established by the President of the Republic of Belarus, the state regulation of the activity of natural monopoly entities via application of methods provided by this Law to a particular natural monopoly entity;

introduces and submits, in the order established by the legislation, the suggestions on improvement of legislation on natural monopolies;

carries out other functions in accordance with the legislation.

Article 11. Powers of the body regulating activity of natural monopoly entities

The body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities:

takes the decision on inclusion of economic entities rendering services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies into the State Register of the Natural Monopoly Entities or on exclusion therefrom;

takes, in accordance with this Law, decisions obligatory for natural monopoly entities;

considers appeals (suggestions, applications, complaints), including on issues of establishment and use of regulated prices (tariffs), as well as on access to services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies;

takes, in accordance with its competence, decisions on the facts of violation of this Law;

directs to the natural monopoly entities the decisions obligatory for execution on ceasing violations of this Law, including on elimination of their consequences, on concluding contracts with the consumers subject to obligatory service and on introduction of changes into the contracts concluded;

directs to the republican bodies of state administration, other state organizations subordinated to the Government of the Republic of Belarus, local executive and administrative bodies the decisions obligatory for execution on cancellation of the acts adopted earlier by them not complying with this Law, or on introduction of changes into them and (or) on ceasing violations of this Law;

requests and receives documents and information in oral and (or) written form necessary for fulfillment of functions imposed on it, from the state bodies, legal and natural persons;

applies to court with the claim, and also participates in consideration of cases related to application or violation of this Law in court;

carries out other powers in accordance with the legislation.

Article 12. Control over actions that are performed with the participation or in relation to the natural monopoly entities and can result in the impairment of interests of consumers

For the purposes of conducting an effective state policy in the sphere of natural monopolies, the bodies of the State Control Committee of the Republic of Belarus, a respective subdivision with the rights of a legal person of the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities, regional and Minsk city executive committees, within their competence within the framework of control over observance of the legislation on natural monopolies carry out the control over actions that are performed with the participation or in relation to the natural monopoly entities and can result in the impairment of interests of consumers.

Article 13. Control over transactions performed by the natural monopoly entities

The body regulating the activity of the natural monopoly entities, other state bodies, within their competence, exercise control over:

any transactions as the result of which a natural monopoly entity acquires the ownership to fixed assets or the right of use of fixed assets not intended for rendering services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies if the cost of such fixed assets exceeds 10 percent of the value of the net assets of the natural monopoly entity according to the last balance sheet;

investments of the natural monopoly entity into rendering of services that in accordance with the article 3 of this Law is not referred to the sphere of natural monopolies at the amount exceeding 10 percent of the cost of pure actives of the natural monopoly entity according to the last balance;

any transactions as the result of which a legal or natural person acquires the ownership to a part of fixed assets of the natural monopoly entity intended for rendering services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies or the right to possession and (or) usage of such part, if their balance sheet value exceeds 10 percent of cost of net assets of the natural monopoly entity according to the last balance sheet.

For performance of actions mentioned in indents two, three and four of part one of this article, the natural monopoly entity is obliged to submit a petition to the body regulating the activity of the natural monopoly entities for granting consent to conduct such actions and also to present the documents and/or data necessary for taking the decision. The list of documents and/or data is determined by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus.

The body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities is entitled to take the motivated decision on:

satisfaction of the petition;

rejection of the petition if the actions stated therein can lead to negative consequences mentioned in Article 12 of this Law, and also in cases if it is established, while considering the submitted documents and/or data, that the information contained in them, which is of importance for taking the decision, is untrue and/or incomplete;

refusal to accept the petition on the ground specified in part five of this Article.

The decision on satisfaction or rejection of the petition must be adopted by the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities not later than 30 days from the day of receipt of the petition. The body regulating the activity the natural monopoly entities is obliged, not later than 5 days from the day of taking the relevant decision, to direct its copy to the natural monopoly entity.

When the body regulating the activity of natural monopolies receives the petition without submission of necessary documents and/or data, determined by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus,  the body regulating the activity of natural monopolies shall, within 10 days from the day of receipt of the petition, take the decision on refusing to accept the petition.

If within 15 days from the day of expiration of the time limit of consideration of the petition, the answer of the body regulating the activity of the natural monopoly entities is not received or the satisfaction of the petition is denied on the grounds that the petitioner considers illegal, the petitioner the has the right to apply to the court for protection of his rights.

The decision of the body regulating the activity of natural monopolies on satisfaction of the petition is valid within one year from the moment of its receipt.

Article 14. Control over transactions being performed with shares (stakes in statutory funds) of natural monopoly entities and other economic entities

A legal or natural person which as a result of acquiring of shares (stakes in the statutory fund) of a natural monopoly entity or as a result of other transaction (including contracts of agency, trust management, pledge) acquires more than 10 percent of total number of votes falling on all shares (stakes in the statutory fund) of the natural monopoly entity, is obliged to notify the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities about it not later than 30 days from the day of conclusion of the relevant transaction. A legal or natural person on shares (stake in the statutory fund) of which accounts fall more than 10 percent of the total number of votes falling on all shares (stakes in statutory fund) of the natural monopoly entity is obliged to notify the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities about all cases of changes of the number of votes belonging to him.

A natural monopoly entity acquiring shares (stakes in the statutory fund) of another economic entity, granting him more than 10 percent of the total number of votes, or conducting transactions with shares (stakes in the statutory fund) of another economic entity, if the shares (stakes in the statutory fund) of this economic entity belonging to it accounts for more than 10 percent of the total number of votes, is obliged to notify the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities about it not later than 30 days from the day of concluding the relevant transaction.

The body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities, other state bodies, within their competence, in order to carry out the control over observance of the requirements provided by the parts one and two of this Article, are entitled to request from the economic entities the data on their shareholders (participants) having more than 10 percent of the total number of votes falling  on all shares (stakes in the statutory fund) of such economic entities.

Article 15. Informing by the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities about decisions taken thereby

The body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities is obliged to inform through mass media about decisions taken thereby on inclusion of economic entities rendering services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies into the State Register of the Natural Monopoly Entities or on exclusion therefrom.

Article 16. Consequences of violating of this Law

In case of violation of this Law the natural monopoly entities, republican bodies of state administration, state organizations subordinated to the Government of the Republic of Belarus, local executive and administrative bodies in accordance with the decision of the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities are obliged:

to cease violations of this Law and (or) to eliminate their consequences;

to abolish or change an act not complying with this Law;

to reimburse damages in the order established by the legislation;

to conclude a contract with the consumer subject to obligatory service;

to introduce changes into the contract concluded with the consumer;

to perform other actions mentioned in the decision.

CHAPTER 4
ORDER OF TAKING DECISIONS BY THE BODY REGULATING THE ACTIVITY OF NATURAL MONOPOLY ENTITIES AND ALSO ORDER OF EXECUTION AND APPEAL OF THESE DECISIONS

Article 17. Adoption of decisions by the body regulating activity of natural monopoly entities

Questions on inclusion of economic entities rendering services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies into the State Register of the Natural Monopoly Entities and on exclusion therefrom, and also on application of the methods of state regulation of the activity of natural monopoly entities may be considered by the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities on its own initiative or on the grounds of suggestions of state bodies, other state organizations subordinated to the Government of the Republic of Belarus, consumers and public associations of consumers.

A representative of the respective economic entity is entitled to be present at consideration of questions concerning inclusion of economic entities rendering services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies into the State Register of the Natural Monopoly Entities and exclusion therefrom, and also concerning application of methods of state regulation of the activity of natural monopoly entities by the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities. The body regulating the activity of natural monopolies is obliged, not later than 15 days before consideration of the mentioned questions, to direct to that economic entity a written notification of the date and place of their consideration. Decisions taken by the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities are directed to the interested economic entity in a written form not later than 5 days from its adoption.

The order of taking a decision on inclusion of economic entities rendering services referred to the sphere of natural monopolies into the State Register of the Natural Monopoly Entities or on exclusion therefrom is established by the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities.

Article 18. [Exlcuded]

Article 19. Order of execution of the decisions of the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities by the natural monopoly entities

Decisions of the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities are executed by the natural monopoly entities, republican bodies of state administration, state organization subordinated to the Government of the Republic of Belarus, local executive and administrative bodies within the time limit established by the decisions, unless otherwise provided by the legislation.

In case of non-execution of the decision of the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities by a natural monopoly entity, this body is entitled to present to the court a claim for compelling the natural monopoly entity to execute the decision, unless an other order of execution of the decisions established by the legislation.

Article 20. Order of appeal of decisions, other actions (omission) of the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities

Decisions, other actions (omission) of the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities may be appealed by the natural monopoly entities, republican bodies of state administration, state organizations subordinated to the Government of the Republic of Belarus, local executive and administrative bodies, consumers, public associations of consumers, other legal and natural persons in court order.

In case of appealing a decision of the body regulating the activity of natural monopoly entities, its execution is suspended till the decision of court enters into force.

CHAPTER 5
FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 21. Entry into force of this Law

This Law enters into force in three months of its official publication with the exception of Article 22 of this Law that enters into force from the day of its official publication.

Article 22. Bringing of acts of legislation in compliance with this Law

Until the legislation of the Republic of Belarus is brought in accordance with this Law, it is applied in the part not contradicting to this Law, unless otherwise provided by the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus.

The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus, within a six-month term from the day of publication of this Law, shall:

prepare and introduce in the established order to the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus suggestions on bringing acts of legislation in accordance with this Law;

bring the decisions of Government of the Republic of Belarus in accordance with this Law;

ensure reviewing and revoking by the republican bodies of state administration subordinated to the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus of their normative acts contradicting this Law.

 

President of the Republic of Belarus

A. Lukashenko

 

* unofficial translation *