Romanian National Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE) decided to increase by 10 percent the natural gas prices paid by 1.6 million household consumers located in the Southern part of the country, including Bucharest, a move that could have an impact on inflation.
The consumers are clients of French energy group Engie, which controls gas distribution in Southern Romania through its local subsidiary Engie România SA. In Northern Romania, where the gas distribution is controlled by German group E.ON, prices remain unchanged.
Gas prices for Romania’s household consumers rose 5.7 percent in the first two months of this year, according to official data, and had an impact on soaring inflation, which reached a five-year high of 4.7 percent year on year in February, the highest rate among the 28 European Union member states.
In January, Romanian energy regulator decided another gas price increase, by 8 percent, for household consumers, after recognizing supplementary costs to gas distributors.
Romania deregulated gas prices for businesses, but retail prices are still regulated by ANRE. However, customers have the option to switch away from a regulated retail price to what’s called a market price.
Romania is the only country in the region which relies on its own natural gas reserves and imports less than 10 percent of the total consumption from Russia’s monopoly Gazprom.
According to Eurostat, Romania had the lowest retail prices for natural gas among the 28 EU member states in 2017.
Romanian household consumers paid EUR 0.032/kWh in the first half of 2017, compared with an EU price average of EUR 0.058/kWh, while non-household consumers in Romania paid an average price of EUR 0.026/kWh, the 7th-lowest in EU.