EC to check RO energy market regulator after problematic retail market liberalization
The European Commission (EC) will carry out an analysis on the Romanian energy market regulator ANRE's activity to see how it complies with the legislation as an energy regulator, Hotnews.ro announced quoting a letter sent by the Commission at the end of January amid a scandal prompted by problematic liberalization of the local retail electricity market.
Due to the lack of information, many people had unpleasant surprises when receiving their electricity bills in January.
Households that were under a regulated regime until January 1, 2021, and were automatically switched to the universal service at one of the last resort suppliers (ENEL, Electrica, CEZ, E.ON) received much higher bills than in December.
The bills were also higher than those received by households that had managed to sign new contracts with suppliers under free-market conditions.
Energy consumers must be informed as clearly as possible that they can change their suppliers, following market liberalization, and the authorities must take action in this regard, the EC sent says in a letter sent to the ANRE and the Ministry of Energy at the end of last month.
About 90% of consumers did not know in December that the energy market would be liberalized from January 1, 2021.
January inflation data show that the retail electricity prices rose by 18% in January compared to December, on average (part of the retail customers were already under market contracts; hence their prices didn't change).
This added 0.8pp to the annual inflation, which hit 3% year-on-year versus 2.1-2.5% expected by the central bank (BNR) before the liberalization scandal.