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ANRE starts investigations on the energy market, requests Competition Council’s support

The Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE) has started an investigation on two contracts for electricity concluded on the OPCOM market, having suspicions of law violation and has requested the support of the Competition Council (CC), ANRE representatives said on Monday.

“Suspicious transactions have been reported, ANRE is having talks with the CC to investigate these transactions. The ANRE head has contacted the ANRE representatives so that a common investigation is conducted on these contracts,” officials say, quoted by capital.ro.

ANRE has started the investigation following a notification reading that the contracts were concluded at a higher price than normal.

“If operator OPCOM will notify us on other suspicious transactions, we will certainly start the control and investigation,” ANRE representatives said.

The officials have not mentioned the specific transactions and the companies under investigation. “It is an ongoing investigation and we cannot deliver names. It’s about transactions concluded on the PZU (spot) market,” the officials added. “Right now there are only suspicions. We have no confirmation, the energy exchange is a free market where demand and supply meet, and therefore we need support from the Competition Council.”

The prices on the sport market (PZU) of the energy exchange OPCOM reached record highs of over RON 600 per MWh, twice as high than in early January.

On January 15 and 23, 2017, Romania registered the highest energy price in Europe, up to EUR 74.92 per MWh and EUR 96.52 MWh respectively, according to data delivered by OPCOM.

The highest price recorded in Europe this month was in Hungary, of EUR 300 per MWh.

Data posted on the OPCOM website suggest the high price was not caused by the electricity traffic, as the OPCOM futures market were traded in January for 6.8 TWh, higher that the entire country’s consumption estimated at 6TWh in January. In addition, on the sport market another quantity of 3.4 TWh is traded.

On the futures market the price in January was of RON 168 per MWh.

According to digi24.ro, the energy exchange has information that the prices were artificially inflated and that the ones to gain were the traders that bought energy and offered very high prices.

The source also reads that the price increase on the OPCOM market was caused by the statement made on January 12 by the Energy Minister who said that the coal stock would last only about 4 days more. The authorities should descramble the contracts on the OPCOM market on the basis of an order ANRE refuses to adopt (although the new energy bill was adopted last summer). The order reads that the signatories of all electricity selling and buying contracts, as well as the contracts for import-export, will be made public, the source reads.

About Valeriu Lazar