After Romania recorded the biggest electricity prices per MWh out of all the European market on January 15 and January 23, the energy regulator ANRE, the Competition Council and the operator of the energy market OPCOM are looking to see if certain transactions were overpriced. This move could represent the start of a full-fledged investigation into the electricity market.
The cold weather has triggered a spike in demand for electricity in Romania in January. The consumption went over 9,000MW per day on several occasions and the government issued on January 13 an emergency decision through which the exports of energy could be blocked if Romania went through an energy crisis.
The government’s move came after warnings from the Ministry of Energy and Transelectrica, the grid operator, regarding a potential energy crisis.
ANRE representatives told Agerpres that the watchdog was analysing two suspicious transactions that were carried out on the OPCOM.
The price of energy climbed to EUR 74.92/MWh on January 15 and EUR 96.52/MWh on January 23, according to OPCOM data. However, the amount of electricity that was traded on the OPCOM stood at 6.8TWh in January, while the country’s consumption was estimated at 6 TWh. In addition, the demand did not exceed the offering, considering that an extra amount of 3.4TWh of electricity was available for trading on the spot market.
Enel Romania head claims some energy suppliers tried to take advantage of higher prices
Shortly after the news broke out about the suspicious electricity transactions, Italian utility Enel issued a statement claiming that some energy suppliers were trying to take advantage of the high price environment.
“The prices are at one of the highest level in decades, the system is close to exceeding operational capacity, and some suppliers are unilaterally denouncing the contracts so as to take advantage of these record prices, leaving clients without the energy supply services, on which they relied based on signed contracts,” said Georgios Stassis, country manager, Enel Romania. He added that the competitive market can offer the best results for clients only if “the contracts and the commitments are respected in good faith”.
“On the other hand, the deterrence of speculative actions, that only have the short-term gain in sight, of incorrect practices that lack responsibility, are essential for the protection of the interests of all parties: clients, suppliers or services and institutions,” said the executive, suggesting that the regulatory framework has to be changed so as to support long-term investments and not speculators.
Stassis also called on the authorities to find a solution for the renewable sector, which is grappling with the reduction of incentives. The head of Enel Romania explained that the wind sector had a major contribution to the electricity production mix during peak demand and also helped balance the prices on the market.
Enel is one of the largest investors in Romania’s renewable sector, controlling wind installations of 489 MW and solar farms with a combined capacity of 36MW.