RO energy market regulator brings final touch on liberalisation process
Romania's energy market regulator ANRE published another order to address the problems generated by the imperfect liberalization of the retail electricity market enforced as of January 1.
Under the latest order drafted by ANRE, the incumbent electricity suppliers must inform their customers monthly about their best offers to encourage them to adhere to a contract signed on the free market - as opposed to the contracts inherited from before the liberalization, Economica.net reported.
Under the existing procedure drafted before January 1, the customers are moved by default on a universal service regime under which they have to pay a price that at this moment is above the prices asked by suppliers on the free market. As many customers are late in switching to a market contract, they will pay the higher price for an indefinite period.
Energy minister Virgil Popescu stepped in and urged ANRE to prevent such a situation, or else the Government will address the issue itself.
The latest ANRE order still leaves unanswered the question of the price paid by the customers between January 1 and the moment they sign a new contract with a supplier.
Under the latest regulations, the incumbent suppliers are allowed (not compelled) to charge the lower price set in the contract retroactively since January 1.
This is discriminatory against other suppliers, but there is no mandatory requirement that prevents incumbent suppliers from charging the high, universal service price, discretionary for the period until they sign a new contract.
The waiting time for a new contract can be quite substantial given some six new contracts are to be signed this year.