July 1 – higher utility tariffs, insignificant price cuts


The new natural gas and energy price hikes will write off over 10 pc of the hike of the minimum salary that will now reach RON 900.

As happens every year, July 1 is a psychological date that brings about price changes which often affect household budgets. Thus, July starts this year too with hikes in the price of utilities. The price of natural gas will register the third hike this year, growing by 2.5 percent starting today. This hike takes the overall hike to over 5 percent. The bad news is that this year there will be another price hike on October 1, and at the end of the year the overall price hike will reach 8 percent. Authorities say that the news is good however because the price hike estimated for this year in line with the timetable was of 10 percent, however because of the smaller imports from Russia and of the lower price level this year the hike is also smaller. The price hike will be felt at the start of the cold season by persons that have thermal heating plants, since at a consumption of 300 square meters of gas per month the bill will grow by approximately RON 25, digi24.ro informs.
“Cautiously, we decided to raise the share of imported natural gas in July, considering the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, so that we will reach an import level of 10 percent of consumption, especially in order to store the natural gas and to strengthen security of supply. This will mean a price hike of 1.5 percent for industrial consumer that pay regulated prices and of 2.5 percent for household consumers,” Nicolae Havrilet, the President of the National Energy Regulation Authority (ANRE), explained.
On the other hand, the tax for electricity and thermal energy produced in cogeneration will be lowered starting today by almost 46 percent to RON 0.00996 per kWh, according to an order from the ANRE President. The tax is based on a European directive whose purpose is to support investments in more efficient energy production technologies and which was authorized by the European Commission in 2010. The value of the contribution for cogeneration was of RON 0.0231 per kWh last year, and it was lowered by 20.4 percent to RON 0.01838 per kWh this year. This drop was reflected in consumers’ bills through a RON 4 drop in the value of the bonus, from RON 21 to RON 17.
Also from July 1 Romania’s electricity exports will be exempt from the payment of the cogeneration tax, in order to stimulate the sale of energy toward other states. Thirty-seven companies benefit from this tax. ANRE proposed to the Government last year the lowering of the support offered to a quarter of the energy and heating producers in cogeneration, because it noticed that they benefitted from aid that was much too high. Also from July 1, 30 percent of the electric energy will be taken from the stock market, which means that the probability that the prices will vary from now on will be much higher.
Nevertheless, Nuclearelectrica and Hidroelectrica, the state-owned companies that supply energy to the population, could hike the bills by 1.4 – 2.4 percent because of the introduction of the “pole tax.” Each company was forced to pay important sums for the new property tax, and this extra cost will be transferred to the bills of electricity consumers. If an average hike of 2 percent is transferred to the bills then a consumer that pays RON 50 for electricity per month will have to pay an extra RON 1 per month starting next month.
Minimum salary to grow by RON 50
The good news this month brings concerns the gross minimum salary that will grow today from RON 850 to RON 900, this being the second hike of its kind this year. The first took place on January 1, when the gross minimum salary climbed from RON 800 to RON 850. Nevertheless, the minimum salary’s hike from July 1 entails extra expenditures for companies, according to specialists from avocatnet.ro. More precisely, the companies will have to pay each employee an extra RON 50, a sum to which they will have to add another RON 14 in taxes. In these conditions, their total monthly cost will grow by RON 64 compared to January 1, 2014, reaching RON 1,152.
Lower roaming tariffs
Starting today the roaming tariffs in the European Union will be lowered by 20-55 per cent, so that users will pay a maximum of EUR 0.19 per minute (VAT not included) for an outbound call, EUR 0.05 per minute (VAT not include) for an inbound call, and EUR 0.06 at most (VAT not included) per text message, the biggest drop being registered in the case of data services (including internet access), for which the maximum tariff will be EUR 0.20 per MB (VAT not included), the National Authority for Communications Administration and Regulation (ANCOM) announced two weeks ago. These maximum tariffs represent the ceiling service providers have to respect as part of the basic tariff plan (Eurotariff), but they can offer their clients smaller tariffs or different tariff plans, such as special holiday offers.