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The liberalisation of the gas market in Romania will increase consumer awareness and encourage consumers to get more involved, to compare market prices and to better analyse offers in order to sign the best contracts, while having the right to change suppliers at any time, reads a response from the National Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE) to a request for information filed by AGERPRES.

From July 1, the Romanian gas market will be completely liberalised. Romania has taken up this deadline before the European Commission to put an end to an infringement procedure that would have sent Romania to the European Court of Justice.

ANRE mentioned the advantages of liberalisation for household consumers as a result of increased competition on the market.

"An important, decisive part, with a significant impact on the degree of development of a functional competitive market is the active participation of final costumers. The right to choose a supplier is one of the main advantages that the end users have, as they have the possibility to negotiate directly with suppliers the terms and conditions for the natural gas supply," ANRE specialists say.

They expect suppliers to diversify their price offers from July 1, which will be customised and tailored to customer needs, thus increasing quality and reducing price.

In the long run, liberalisation represents an advantage for the entire energy market, and with correct and permanent information of the final customers, the market will be able to mature competitively, to the benefit of both suppliers and customers.

ANRE admits that there may be disadvantages for consumers in the liberalisation process generated mainly by insufficient knowledge of the mechanisms of the natural gas market on the part of some suppliers and some final customers.

The regulator says it has carried out several media campaigns to inform the public about the right to change supplier.

ANRE has complelled suppliers to send, starting with May 1, monthly information on the proposed price from July 1, a clear and explicit reference on the place where the household customer can consult the contract proposal and, at the same time to post liberalisation information at their outlets and on their websites.

On Monday, Minister of Economy, Energy and Business Environment Virgil Popescu told AGERPRES that natural gas for the population will certainly become cheaper in July, once the market is liberalised.

The minister accused the big gas companies, E.ON and Engie, of trying to take advantage of consumers and sending them offers with the same price from July 1, instead of offering lower prices. He specified that he is firmly convinced that these companies will also reduce the offers by 10-15%, otherwise the government will step in for that to happen.

Popescu mentioned that consumers can change their supplier at any time, if they have paid their bills, even if they have signed new contracts. AGERPRES (RO - author: Florentina Cernat, editor: Oana Tilica; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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