Foto cu caracter ilustrativ: Getty Images

President of the Competition Council: “We will have to learn to live with high energy prices”. The causes of these increases

Illustrative photo: Getty Images

The price of energy will remain high, so people should make their consumption more efficient, the authorities should help the vulnerable, and companies should pay a solidarity contribution, Bogdan Chiritoiu, president of the Competition Council, told Agerpres on Wednesday.

“The price of energy will remain high, as it is estimated that the carbon dioxide certificate, which now costs 50 euros, could reach 100 euros . These high prices will not go away. We will have to learn to live with high energy prices, “he said.

The head of the competition authority stressed that the  increase in electricity and gas prices is a European phenomenon, not only Romanian, justified, in part, by the recovery of the economy after the pandemic, but also by the European policy of increasing the penalty for pollution, which led to a very large increase in the price of coal-based energy.

“This, in order to push consumers to be more careful with energy consumption, to buy low-consumption equipment, to insulate their homes well. We, Romania, cannot influence the price in the European market, but we can take measures to reduce the negative impact of these price increases, by subsidizing the consumption of the poorest, most vulnerable among us. When the rain comes, you can’t stop it, but you can open the umbrella “, added Chiriţoiu.

The amounts for vulnerable consumers could come from a solidarity contribution to be paid by all energy companies, Chiriţoiu added. Currently, only gas producers pay a deregulation surcharge.

In Romania, since last year, the Competition Council has initiated procedures through which it can request information from companies in the field, on the basis of which it can intervene in the market.

“We sanctioned with total fines of 10 million euros the gas distributors E.ON, Engie, Premier Energy, Ottogaz, for incorrect behaviors towards consumers. They all admitted breaking the law and paid the fine. On the electricity market, we imposed CEZ correct procedures for disconnections, Enel for grid connections, and we forced Hidroelectrica to sell larger quantities on the energy exchange in order not to artificially create shortages.

We identified abusive clauses in some supply contracts and notified the National Authority for Consumer Protection (ANPC) and ANRE. ANPC even applied Engie sanctions, which were upheld by the trial court. We will continue monitoring and, where necessary, sanctions. Not all consumer misconduct is our responsibility. That is why we collaborate with ANRE and ANPC “, added Chiriţoiu.

At present, there are situations in the market in which some suppliers do not honor their fixed price contracts when they reach their disadvantage, but similar situations have existed in previous years.

“In these cases, ANRE can and must take more severe measures against suppliers, imposing penalties and going as far as revoking the license. Otherwise, such behaviors will undermine the functioning of the market.

Also, the cost of gas is only 60% of the total bill price, and the cost of electricity is less than half the price of the bill. We must also look at the other components, the regulated ones, of the bill to identify the areas where savings can be made, for example the reading of the gas meter and the electricity meter can be done by the same person, thus reducing this cost paid, in the end, also as a consumer “, considers the president of the Competition.

Large energy consumers benefit from support schemes, but in terms of small and medium-sized enterprises, we will see their higher energy costs in the price of their products in a few months, he continued.

” I don’t think gas prices will stay that high for longer. This winter will be expensive, but from spring it is possible that the price will fall.  The Nord Stream II gas pipeline will also be put into operation, bringing more gas to Europe from Russia. The Russians have an interest in selling these gases, I don’t think the demand will increase and, in addition, Europe also imports liquefied natural gas “, said Bogdan Chiriţoiu.

According to him,  Romania imports about 10% of electricity consumption and 20% of gas consumption, and in the absence of imports, prices would be even higher, because more electricity generated from coal would be used .

The Romanian electricity market was liberalized on January 1, 2021, and the gas market on July 1, 2020.

You May Also Like

More From Author