Differing opinions about rise in electricity charges

Representatives of energy companies insist on raising the tariffs on energy resources at a time when representatives of civil society consider the rises are unjustified. Contradictory opinions were stated in the talk show “Reply” on Prime TV channel, IPN reports.

Ion Comendant, adviser to the president of Gas Natural Fenosa, said that initially the company intended to ask increasing the electricity charges by 75%. “We stopped at a 60% rise from April 1, 2015. If the charges are raised gradually, during two years, we will demand an increase of 75%. The company has to increase the tariffs owing to the depreciation of the national currency. It sustained huge losses as a result of the difference in the exchange rates,” he stated.

Alexandru Mija, head of the Tariffs Division of the National Agency for Energy Regulation (ANRE), said the Agency will not manage to approve the tariffs by April 1. “We are now examining the applications of “Moldova-Gaz” and “Gaz Natural Fenosa” to increase the tariffs from two viewpoints – if the rises are justified and if the charges can be raised gradually,” he stated.

The president of the Association of Energy Consumers of Moldova Nicolae Mogoreanu accused the ANRE of not being functional. “If this Agency had accepted the requests to raise tariffs immediately, the consumers wouldn’t have been put in the situation to pay higher tariffs at once. The sudden rise in charges will negatively affect the economy. The economic entities will be put in the situation to reduce production, the number of employees, etc.” he stated.

Economist Sergiu Tofilat noted that the higher electricity charges are not justified. “The tariffs for the distribution of electric power must be reviewed in accordance with the budgets planned for investments and maintenance of networks. To fairly determine the capital costs, the tariff should include not the investments, but their amortization. We should not forget that the price of natural gas will decrease as a result of the decline in world oil prices, on which the gas prices depend,” he said.

Activist Maia Laguta stated that the electricity charges should be raised only if the pensions are increased by at least 20%. “The pensioners live at poverty line and the higher charges will significantly worsen their state,” she said.