Pursuant to the regulation ‘Description of the vital service and continuity requirements in supplying liquid fuel’ of the Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, all sellers of fuel who are deemed providers of a vital service are required to equip at least three filling stations with autonomous power supply as of 1 January 2022, with one of the stations located in Tallinn or Harju County and the remaining two in different Estonian counties.
Pursuant to the Liquid Fuel Act, a seller of fuel who owns at least ten filling stations in at least three different counties is deemed a provider of a vital service. In Estonia, the undertakings operating under the trademarks of Alexela, Olerex, Circle K, Neste, Jetoil, Terminal Oil, Krooning, and Premium-7 are deemed providers of a vital service.
The total capacity of the fuel tanks of a filling station with autonomous power supply located in Harju County must be at least 30,000 litres for both gasoline and diesel fuel and the filling station must have at least 15,000 litres of each type of fuel at any given moment in time. Elsewhere in Estonia, the requirement for the capacity of the tanks is 20,000 litres and the requirement for the reserve fuel 10,000 litres.
When the regular power supply is interrupted, those filling stations must switch to autonomous (mostly based on a back-up generator) power supply within up to 30 minutes and be able to accept and issue fuel and keep the vending system operable.
As none of the sellers of fuel providing the vital service made plans to operate a filling stations with autonomous power supply in Saare County or Rapla County, AS Eesti Varude Keskus AS (Estonian Stockpiling Agency) concluded contracts with Saare Kütus and OÜ HEPA, based on which those companies will ensure the availability of fuel in the Roonimäe filling station in Kuressaare and in the Viljandi Road filling station in Rapla, respectively, in the event of a potential power cut in an emergency situation.
In total, there are now twenty-nine crisis filling stations that are compliant with the afore-mentioned requirements in Estonia and the stations can be found in all counties. Estonia also has almost 100 further filling stations which can be connected to a generator, if necessary, and the majority of the new filling stations are already designed with this capability.
Estonian Stockpiling Agency (ESPA) advises:
- all individuals and businesses for whom gasoline or diesel is vital to have a sufficient fuel reserve available at the consumption site to cover their primary needs
- as a power failure may result in data communication issues and even though the power supply from an autonomous generator will ensure the functioning of the pumps in a filling station, paying for the fuel may still turn out to be an issue. The latter problem can be overcome by having some cash available or carrying the payment cards of several different fuel undertakings, as those can be used for payment in a filling station without data connection.