A parliamentary commission analyzes the functioning mechanism of the National Regulatory Authority for Energy (ANRE) and may decide to reorganize the authority, so that some activities will be taken over by the Government, said the minister of energy Toma Petcu.
“We analyze the functioning mechanism of ANRE, in order to see where the decision is hindered, in relation to the activity of ANRE, not just the leadership. What we have talked with Mr. Havrileţ (Niculae Havrileţ, president of ANRE – e.n.), there are also some problems in terms of legislation that do not allow some things”, said Petcu.
He said that this commission will analyze all the secondary legislation issued by ANRE in order to verify that it is adapted to the European requirements.
“If we were to look at the actions that ANRE has taken or has not taken in the last period, maybe it is a problem not necessarily a decision of the ANRE management, but maybe it is regarding blockages in the implementation or there are some gaps and we should solve this. That’s why they (ANRE – e.n.) are partners in this committee”, also said Petcu.
Asked if the ANRE transfer under the subordination of the Government is still taken into account, the minister replied: “I do not think so, maybe some parts, maybe the auction side, maybe the control side. It will be an analysis, it will be a reorganization of the ANRE. ANRE has a regulatory, supervisory and controlling role, we could overtake some of these activities. It is not a very clear decision, and I repeat, beyond the management’s decision, perhaps it’s about organizing”, according to Agerpres.
Petcu said that the reorganization of the regulator could be performed by amending the law of incorporation of the ANRE.
ANRE responds and accuses the minister of energy of manipulating the market and violating European directives
The statements of the minister of energy, Toma Petcu, regarding the functioning of the market are manipulation and ANRE’s politicization will surely attract an infringement procedure for Romania from the European Commission, said Florin Tobescu, department chief within the National Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE).
“We assumed the status of EU members in 2007, we accepted these rules that we still want to change. We cannot say – I’m sorry that the minister is not here anymore, but he will probably be brought to his attention – that we want ANRE, this energy market arbitrator, to be subordinated to the Government or to another entity of a political nature. It means going back to the 1990s. After the 1990s, it was considered that the role of that mammoth ministry should be diminished, that either independent authorities were created and ANRE’s political coordination would be a huge step backward that would clearly bring an infringement from the European Union. This arbitrator cannot be subjected to any political party, both in fact and in theory”, said the ANRE official.
According to him, the new European legislative package, the so-called winter package, provides even more for the independence of the regulators, to the extension of the mandates of the heads of the regulators.
“At this moment we have all the chances that the first mandate in the history of the regulator will be brought to an end (this autumn expires the five-year mandate of the president of ANRE Niculae Havrileţ – e.n.) because, so far, since 2000, the heads of the institution were always changed on political criteria and without much comment”, stressed out Tobescu.
He also referred to the minister’s statements about the functioning of the market and the lifespan expiration of the Cernavoda reactor 1.
“In this situation, to declare from positions with the highest responsibility that the market did not work or that a reactor has some unclear technical issues or otherwise, it is even a market manipulation or an attempt to manipulate the market, fact punished at the moment by the EU regulations”, also said Tobescu.
The ANRE representative showed that it would have been better for the regulator and the ministry to have worked together to give a joint mandate to the Romanian representatives who are negotiating in Brussels at the energy group since the day before yesterday, a group formed at the level of the Council of the European Union, Romania’s energy future in the context of new European Commission Directive proposals regarding the new market model.
He also criticized the Government for failing to take measures to protect the vulnerable consumers, as energy prices are on an increasing trend both in Romania and at European level.
“We have to take into account of our European evolution, of the price interconnection and these prices should be very close to those of the European level. The prices are not high, but the ability to bear these prices by the Romanian consumer is small, Thus, the Government should therefore step up its tools and take the social protection measures for social protection, especially for the vulnerable consumers”, said Tobescu.
He drew attention that Romania’s degree of energy independence is declining.
“The degree of energy independence is decreasing continuously, we have an honorable place in the top of the European states with over 80% energy independence, but this degree is gradually decreasing. We will not be able to capitalize, for example, the Black Sea hydrocarbon deposits if we do not have an appropriate price for them and a market and infrastructure necessary for transport towards market”, said the ANRE official.