The law on capping and compensating energy prices will be amended by the Romanian Government.
In Romania, the price of gas and electricity bills has exploded in recent months, and in some cases has even increased 4 up to 5 times, despite the fact that, in October, a law was adopted according to which, between November 1, 2021 and April 1, 2022, the final price of electricity bills is capped at a maximum of 1 leu/kWh, and that of natural gas at a maximum of 0.37 lei/kWh. Furthermore, this law also compensates for the prices of electricity and natural gas bills for household consumers if they meet certain consumption limits.
The law on capping and compensating energy prices will be amended by the government, says the energy minister, Virgil Popescu, so that the suppliers who miscalculated the bills, ignoring the law, can re-issue the bills without paying penalties. An increase in gas bill compensation is also being considered and it will be forbidden to disconnect consumers.
Moreover, the government intends to also take measures in relation to the food industry and agriculture. Here is the energy minister, Virgil Popescu: “From February 1, we will discuss a package for the food and agriculture industries. We may also discuss an additional discount on natural gas, we either increase the discount from 33% to 50% or reduce the VAT for gas. We will find solutions for the continuation of this scheme as of February 1 and April 1, respectively."
The energy bill crisis has caused reactions from the leaders of the governing parties, PSD and PNL. Mutual accusations have been made, the resignation of the leadership of the Energy Ministry and of the Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority – ANRE was asked, and proposals were made to balance the situation. The Social Democrats are dissatisfied with the law initiated by the Liberals regarding the compensation of bills and the capping of energy prices, and several PSD members asked for the dismissal of energy minister Virgil Popescu. PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu believes that quick solutions are required, such as capping the VAT on energy and natural gas, but also organizing a meeting of the Supreme Council of National Defense - CSAT.
Marcel Ciolacu: “We are obviously in full crisis. I think that people expect solutions from this coalition, which has a comfortable majority in the Romanian Parliament, rapid solutions, found now, not as of April 1.”
The president of the PNL Florin Cîţu says that talks on the issue should be more pragmatic, without populist messages and solutions that have a big impact on the budget. Florin Cîţu: “I would prioritize. We cannot talk about measures that discriminate or promise that we will pay everyone's bills, we cannot promise all kinds of tax eliminations. The balance we have reached in the economy in recent years can be easily disturbed".
Trade unions and employers’ associations also demand the capping of energy and natural gas bill prices both for domestic consumers and companies, and point out that without systemic and unitary measures, many companies will go bankrupt. (LS)