May 31, 2020

Household gas consumers, caught in the crossfire of market liberalization

Household gas consumers have just over one month to find information, analyze and negotiate the gas contract, which will influence their budget in the following winter. Precisely 40 days before the deadline for moving household consumers to the free gas market, ANRE recommends, in a statement, household consumers to pay attention to what they sign, indirectly telling them that they are responsible for the potential high prices they will pay after July 1, 2020. Even if this statement includes no word about the 80% of the suppliers that were required to inform household consumers and didn’t; no word about the fact that the offers placed on the market by the existing gas suppliers are higher than the gas price offers under the current contract; no word about the lack of a national campaign to inform consumers, although there are millions of RON that household gas consumers pay in the current gas price and which should be used precisely for such campaigns; no word about the numerous referrals on the use by household consumers of the calculator of the gas price on ANRE website, we are waiting for statements on these issues from ANRE. This statement of ANRE comes against the background of the Fair Gas Price Campaign conducted by the Intelligent Energy Association, which reports the harsh realities of the process of preparing market liberalization for household customers. We are reassured that gas prices cannot increase for household consumers as of July 1, 2020, this in conditions in which it has already increased for those household consumers that have already accepted the gas offer received and for which this increase in the gas price as of July 1 has been sealed. In this period when there was no concern for the household consumer, special emphasis was placed on the development of a so-called Gas Release Program (a healthy concept, but not as it is presented in the Romanian law), under which gas prices will decrease at producers. This in conditions in which gas prices at producers fell to half the average market price recorded last year, this decrease not being reflected in the price at end-consumers or in the price offers for the household consumers after the date of July 1, 2020. Although there was no position regarding the increase in the price of gas offered to household consumers, in this troubled period legal acts were issued to decrease the price of gas from domestic production, purchased by suppliers, which they offer at increased prices to household consumers. The Intelligent Energy Association will continue to monitor the gas market liberalization process for household consumers, reporting the difficulties of the liberalization process and trying to present solutions and support.

Translation from Romanian by Romaniascout.