Romania: Full liberalization of electricity market as of 1 January

, SEE Energy News

All Romanian households will be supplied with electricity on the free market, at unregulated prices, as of 1 January 2021.

However, many of residential consumers are still not aware of this change and will most likely continue to be supplied under the universal service contracts, which is in principle designed for other purposes such as clients in remote areas or when the market supplier fails to meet its obligation. NGOs in the energy sector said that this situation might lead to abuses from the supplier of last resort responsible for delivering universal services under contracts subject to consultations but not control of the energy regulator ANRE. These consultations, regarding the price paid by a large part of Romanian households after 1 January, are still not completed less than two weeks before the end of the year. According to Dumitru Chisalita from the Intelligent Energy Association (AEI), residential consumers who fail to sign a new supply contract do not risk the termination of supply, but will pay more for consumed electricity under the universal service contracts.

ANRE will no longer influence the price of the universal service for the household consumer, except for distribution and transport fees. The regulator has not yet published the final fees for the universal service. Meanwhile, it has increased the transmission fees, applied by electricity transmission system operator Transelectrica, as well as distribution fees, which will influence the final price for the universal service.

Consumers who are not satisfied with the universal service price can choose any other supplier in the market. Residential consumers will have a choice, most likely by the end of January, to remain under the universal service coverage or accept the free market offer from other suppliers. But the same reasons that have led to poor awareness among households about the 1 January liberalization might also prevent households from making a decision by the end of the month. And this is when the suppliers will be able to assign consumers to whatever contracts they decide, most likely at higher prices.