Energy Minister Anton Anton stated on Thursday that natural gas will not be more expensive next winter, even if experts warn that oil price increase will also lead to the increase in the gas bills.The minister participated in the conference titled "Energy efficiency - a priority in combating energy poverty and providing access to energy for all", within the Romanian Presidency of the Energy Charter.
Asked by journalist what is Romania's strategy in protecting vulnerable consumers from the gas price rise, expected in the upcoming months, Minister Anton replied: "It is not true", refusing to argument his opinion.
This, although the price of gas is directly dependent on that of crude oil and the barrel quotation have reached the past four years' peak. The barrel's fluctuations also reflect on the price of gas, with a 6-9 month time lag, so that the entire energy market is preparing for the gas price increase next winter.
"Everything that was discussed here had to do with the protection of vulnerable consumers, about the energy development. We, as a state, protect them through decisions that we already have in the legislation and which give them a minimum quantum of energy and support for heating," Anton also said.
Moreover, the minister contradicted the journalists who recalled that in Romania, the concept of 'vulnerable consumers' of energy and gas still doesn't exist, so these are not protected. "We have the law, and the strategy," the minister replied.
However, Romania's Energy Strategy 2017-2035 is not yet finalised. It has been in an ongoing stage of development and the minister has promised before that it would be completed by the end of the year.
Frank Hajdinjak, E.ON Romania Executive Director, was stating at end-May that the gas prices on Romanian market, both domestically produced and from imports, will significantly increase next winter, due to the rise of oil quotations.
Moreover, as there is no real competition on the market, as there are only two domestic producers, the price of domestic gas will tend to grow towards the import gas price.
Hajdinjak showed that last winter the import gas price was by 20 percent higher than in the previous winter, due to rises in oil quotations.