Ciolacu: The price of gas has inexplicably increased in Romania. I ask ANRE and the Ministry of Energy to check

Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu declared on Friday before the Government meeting that the price of gas has inexplicably increased in Romania while in other European countries it has decreased, asking ANRE and the Ministry of Energy to make checks.

Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu

Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu declared that the price of gas has increased unfounded

In parallel, I ask the Minister of Energy, Sebastian Burduja, to look carefully at what is happening with regard to the price of gas. I saw that there were situations of suppliers who unjustifiably increased prices, since across Europe they have decreased. It is true that these increases are not reflected in the population’s bills, where there are ceilings. But these companies then come to the state so that we can pay them the difference compared to the capped price. That’s why I ask you to check the situation and I hope that the ANRE will report it as well“, said the prime minister.

The Intelligent Energy Association (AEI) reported on Thursday that some natural gas suppliers increased contract prices by 4.8% in October 2023 compared to October 2022.

Why did the supplier, using the legal provisions and the customer’s inattention, increase the price of gas in the contract by 4.8%? At the time when the contract price of 0.55475 lei/kWh without VAT was set, the price of natural gas on the international gas market was 136.59 euros/MWh (TTF quotes August 1, 2022). In 2023, when the supplier set a price 4.8% higher than in the previous year, the price of natural gas on the international gas market was 49.85 euros/MWh (TTF quotations August 1, 2022) – i.e. a price of 2 .74 times smaller“, pointed out Dumitru Chisăliță, the president of AEI.

According to the energy expert, the answer to this question is complex and due to at least the following causes:

– the only partial suspension of the free gas market by GEO 27/2022, caused one side (the consumer, not sufficiently well informed, to believe that prices are regulated), the other side (the supplier, very well informed, to set prices on principles of the free market and using Romanian legislation to impose it in the contract)

– Romanian legislation allows the imposition of unilateral prices in the contract. I believe that this mechanism is useful in an already formed market, and not in the situation where I have consumers who are not sufficiently well trained on the benefits and risks in a free market

– the lack of the appropriate activity of the 3 fundamental entities of a free market and without which a free market does not actually work – consumer protection, guaranteeing competition and the market arbiter (ANRE)

– lack of an Alternative Dispute Resolution entity on the gas market.

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