BUSINESS

Energy Department: Shell game with natural gas prices for household and industrial consumers

On the verge of winter the issue of the price of natural gas for household and industrial consumer is once again in the news, despite the fact that until about a month ago Energy Minister Razvan Nicolescu had given assurances that the problems had been “straightened out” (being also discussed with Brussels).

Yesterday the Energy Department assured us in a communiqué that: “The prices paid by household consumers for natural gas from internal production will remain unchanged from January 1, 2015, in relation to their current level.”

Why this assurance? Because also yesterday, at a special conference, MP Iulian Iancu stated: “Natural gas consumers users of apartment heating systems and those connected to the centralized heating and warm water system should not be discriminated through the liberalization of the natural gas price for household consumers scheduled on January 1, 2015. Namely the owner of an apartment heating system is protected by the price liberalization timetable until 2021, while the others, starting on January 1, should bear the price of the free market,” Iulian Iancu, who is also president of the National Romanian Committee of the World Energy Council, stated.

The Energy Department’s statements come against this backdrop, but also after the institution received several requests from private companies to postpone the price liberalization for industrial consumers. On the other hand, a partial or total postponement of the price liberalization for industrial consumers (including thermal and electricity plants) requires the prior approval of the European Commission, the aforementioned communiqué emphasizes.

Regulated prices on the natural gas market for non-household consumers will be completely eliminated at the start of 2015, and consumers will have to negotiate new prices with suppliers by December 31, 2014, according to an Order issued by the President of the Regulatory Authority for Energy (ANRE) and published in the Official Gazette at the end of October this year.

For household consumers complete liberalization was scheduled for 31 December 2018, however Parliament voted to extend that deadline by two and a half years.

 

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