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Romania's natural gas market, electricity market to be fully liberalised in 2021, including for household consumers

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Romania's natural gas market will be completely liberalised on April 1, 2021, and that of electricity on July 1, 2021, with regulated prices to be eliminated even for household consumers in order to boost market competition, Vice-President of the National Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE) Zoltan Nagy-Bege said Monday. 

"There will be a complete liberalisation on April 1, 2021 for gas and on July 1, 2021 for electricity, both on the wholesale market and on the retail market, that is to say for final consumers," the ANRE official told a specialist conference. 

According to him, the measure was approved by all market participants, as well as by the European Commission. 

"There is no point in keeping the retail market regulated since the wholesale market is liberalised. We discussed with all market players and the European Commission and everyone agreed that it is not a sound approach to keep household consumer prices regulated since there is a free wholesale market. All the time, you will have to deal with differences, plus or minus, which have to be regulated and which influence competition. The aim is to have competition, and the big and small suppliers to compete in the market, which can only be achieved in a fully liberalised market," Bege explained. 

ANRE will continue to approve only the tariffs for the supply of last resort for a limited period in case of emergencies such as bankruptcy or inability of the supplier to deliver energy or gas. 

All these measures will be regulated either by law or by an emergency ordinance prepared by ANRE and the Ministry of Energy, Bege said. 

He added that an infringement procedure is ongoing in the gas sector started by the European Commission, which current status is motivated opinion and can be closed only if these liberalisation measures are legislated. 

"Romania has been extended a three-month postponement from the European Commission, so we have to solve the problem by December 26. If things get stuck with Parliament, we have prepared a draft emergency ordinance identical to what is being discussed in Parliament. I hope that the political disturbances will not jeopardise this plan, because I do not think that the European Commission will be willing to extend to us other terms," said the ANRE official. 

If Romania does not solve these problems within the deadline extended by the European Commission, December 26, the infringement file will reach the European Court of Justice.

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