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An NGO criticizes changes to Gas Law regarding vulnerable consumer

28 June 2017

The NGO Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) criticizes the new measures taken by the Chamber of Deputies’ Industry Committee, led by Iulian Iancu, Gas Law (OUG 64/2016), as it considers reintroducing the notion of vulnerable consumer for a much shorter period , By a measure that only affects the gas market and overlaps with already existing definitions.

“Parliament addresses the issue of vulnerable energy consumers wrongly and inefficiently,” the CSD said. “We draw the attention of the members of the Chamber of Deputies that such an amendment is unnecessary, counterproductive and contradictory, both in relation to the national legislation and with the European recommendations,” says Thus, the CSD claims that the members of the Chamber of Deputies Industries Committee “have approved an amendment to the text of the ordinance that completely disrupts the current and future vulnerable consumer protection system in Romania.”

At the same time, the Parliament wants to oblige the Government to establish by government decision a “financial aid scheme for the vulnerable consumer” in the short period of the summer holiday, more precisely by September 30, 2017, as well as a “way of defining Vulnerable consumer “. This system should be valid exclusively between 1 November 2017 and 31 March 2018, until the entry into force of Law 196/2017 on Minimum Income Inclusion, according to CSD officials. The head of the Industry Commission, Iulian Iancu, could not be contacted by

“We believe that the current legislation (Law 123/2012, as well as the secondary legislation elaborated by ANRE) provides a definition for the vulnerable consumer, operationalized in practice. A new way of defining is justified only in the context of a concerted, responsible and long-lasting effort, in the form of a National Action Plan to Combat Energy Poverty (a European Energy Package in Three Energies), to provide financial remedies, -financial and structural, sustainable and long-term issues of energy poverty, “said CSD officials. “In addition, a financial aid scheme for vulnerable consumers for income reasons exists and has been in operation in Romania for about 20 years, being enacted and implemented by the Ministry of Labor, City Halls and Decentralized Authorities.”

Government Emergency Ordinance 70/2011 on social protection measures during the cold season, which establishes the current heating aid system, covering heating irrespective of the fuel used (wood, gas, electricity, district heating), has operated uninterruptedly over the last eight years , Covering, in the last cold season, almost 5% of Romania’s population. “The replacement of this scheme with a new one, drafted in only three months, is inopportune and risky … The law-making process on the vulnerable consumer, through an amendment unjustified by the Romanian legislative reality, introduced a few hours before the vote in the Commission without consulting the stakeholders And the specialists, demonstrate a poor knowledge of the complexity of energy poverty in Romania, as well as the lack of a willingness to resolve this severe social phenomenon sustainably “, concluded CSD representatives

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