The Slovak Spectator newspaper reports that Slovenske Elektrarne (SE), the country’s largest power generator, has responded to government demands to reduce electricity tariffs by blaming the distribution companies for the high prices.

SE claims that the three foreign-owned distributors – SSE, VSE and ZSE – all make profits far in excess of its own, and that the government should be focusing on them in its efforts to drive down prices for consumers. However SE is itself owned by the Italian utility Enel, although media reports also claim that the new administration in Bratislava has offered to buy the utility back. Enel has rejected the offer, and stands by its pledge to invest heavily in Slovakia’s power generation infrastructure.

A ZSE spokesman said that it was up to the country’s energy regulator to decide whether tariffs are too high.