EC assures: Electricity contracts between Hidroelectrica and certain customers did not involve state aid

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Following the in-depth investigation opened in 2012 to assess whether the Romanian state-controlled hydropower producer Hidroelectrica S.A. purchased or sold electricity at preferential tariffs to several electricity traders, the European Commission (EC) has concluded that electricity supply contracts did not involve state aid within the meaning of the EU rules.

“The Commission found that the contracts were either concluded on market terms or, where tariffs were below market level, that the Romanian state could not be held responsible for the tariffs granted. In particular, the analysis revealed that Hidroelectrica charged prices that were fully in line with the benchmark market price to nine customers (ArcelorMittal, Alro, Alpiq RomEnergie, Alpiq RomIndustries, EFT, Electrica, Electromagnetica, Energy Holding, Euro-Pec). The prices charged to Luxten-Lighting, Electrocarbon and Elsid were lower than the benchmark market price,” a press release of Brussels authorities reads on Friday.

However, the investigation did not establish that the decision to grant favourable conditions to ‘these relatively minor private players can be attributed to the Romanian authorities’.

The Commission therefore concluded that none of the sale contracts under examination involved state aid.

In December 2009 and December 2010, following public auctions on the Romanian wholesale electricity market OPCOM, Hidroelectrica concluded two bilateral contracts with steel producer ArcelorMittal, each for the supply of 1.75 TWh of electricity per year, at prices which seem to be below market levels.

ALRO Slatina has an ongoing long-term contract with Hidroelectrica for the delivery of 3 TWh of electricity per year at a price very close to Hidroelectrica’s own production costs and subsequently indexed annually on the basis of the aluminum price quotation on the London Metal Exchange (LME).

Contracts between Hidroelectrica and eight electricity traders, some of which from 2004, and contracts between Hidroelectrica and two industrial manufacturers have been concluded at prices that appear to be lower than those prevailing on the market. Conversely, in contracts with two thermoelectricity producers, Hidroelectrica bought electricity at prices which seem to be higher than market prices.

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