The Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE) announced that it has launched an investigation on two contracts for electricity concluded on the OPCOM market due to suspicions of law violation and has requested the help of the Romanian Competition Council.
ANRE officials said that suspicious transactions have been reported and ANRE is currently in talks with the Competition Council to investigate these transactions. The investigation started following a notification stating that the contracts were concluded at a higher price than normal. The officials have not disclosed any details regarding the transactions in question, as it is an ongoing investigation and names cannot be given. The transactions were closed on the spot market and currently there are only suspicions, without confirmation and that is why the help of the Competition Council is needed, ANRE officials explained.
The electricity sold on Romanian spot market has reached record values of over 133 euros/MWh in the past few days (24 – 26 January), which is twice as much as in the beginning of 2017. The prices continued to rise over the weekend and reached 145 euros/MWh at the end of January. It was expected that electricity prices will fall after the initial cold wave, but they remained very high despite much better weather conditions and the recovery of the Danube water levels.
This situation has already taken its first casualty, as energy trader Transenegro Com has filed for insolvency on 17 January. Also, several traders have informed their customers that they are unable to fulfill the signed contracts and demanded their temporary suspension, though not termination.
Romania, which is an electricity exporter, has faced an energy crisis at the beginning of 2017, as electricity consumption in the country reached record levels due to extremely cold weather in the past few weeks, while electricity production was affected by the low level and low flow of Danube, which significantly decreased electricity production at the largest Romanian hydropower plants.