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EconMin Popescu: Price of gas for population should decrease 10-15% otherwise Gov't to intervene

The price of gas for household consumers should decrease by 10-15% from July 1, when the market is completely deregulated, otherwise the Government will use anti-competitive legislation to intervene, Minister of Economy, Energy and Business Milieu Virgil Popescu told private TV broadcaster Digi 24.

He explained that, from July 1, 2020, the price of gas for the population will no longer be set by the National Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE), but will be formed freely.

"Obviously we have to be careful that suppliers do not take advantage of this initial situation of liberalization and we will make sure from this point of view. As of this month the producers will be obliged to enter into a gas release program, to put up for sale one-month, three-month, six-month and one-year packages at the starting price of the Vienna Stock Exchange, which is currently almost three times lower than the current price at which suppliers buy. So, we are practically convinced that there will be a price decrease, at least in July, August, and including in winter the price will be lower than the one at which the suppliers on the market are currently buying and we will make sure that this price decrease will be found in the Romanians' bills," the government official said.

Popescu stressed that if the two big suppliers, Engie and E.ON, which have 90% of the market, will not lower prices for the population, the authorities will intervene to make this happen.

"We will intervene by Emergency Ordinance in the Government, on the Competition Law, and we will make sure that the price reduction at the producer is also found at the end-buyer. I expect there to be 10-15% discounts in the market and there are suppliers that offer this reduction. Some, smaller ones [offers a discount] even by 20%, because they do not want to lose their customers. Among the big ones, it seems to me that there is an anti-competition agreement, as they have 90% of the market, and do not make any move to reduce the price for end-customers," the minister went on to say.