Contract with MGRES, between controversy and necessity

The decision to sign a contract for the purchase of power with MGRES (Kuchurgan power plant) is controversial and takes Moldova back under Transnistria’s energy control, said the chairman of the Coalition for Unity and Welfare (CUB) Igor Munteanu. According to him, when there is a separatist enclave, not only the economic price, but also eventual geopolitical implications matter. For their part, representatives of the government admit that the agreement between Chisinau and Tiraspol is not ideal, but this is the best solution for ensuring lower charges for the citizens, IPN reports.

Representatives of the government said the constitutional authorities had to reach an agreement with the self-styled Transnistrian authorities so as to obtain a lower price and to ensure predictability as regards the supply of electrical energy. According to PAS MP Vasile Gradinaru, the electricity purchased from the international market is much more expensive and there are no prospects of signing a long-term contract.

“There are many fundamental aspects based on which that contract was signed. Firstly, the Republic of Moldova must be provided with sufficient gas and electricity for consumers. We need to ensure permanent and uninterrupted consumption. If we are connected with them and if shelling in Ukraine continues, we will resist through this network. Furthermore, we must offer the price that can be paid by the citizens. What we buy from exchanges is much more expensive and there is no certainty. Nobody claims that the contract is fantastic and is the ideal solution, but in the given situation we had to sign that contract,” PAS MP Vasile Gradinaru stated in the program “Shadow Cabinet” on JurnalTV channel.

For their part, representatives of the extraparliamentary opposition said the agreement with Tiraspol throw the Republic of Moldova towards new energy dependence. Furthermore, even if Moldova obtained a lower price for electricity, it will incur much larger costs by buying gas at a higher price than the price offered by Gazprom.

“The decision is controversial. In the short term, the minister who dealt with the allocation of all the amounts of gas imported from the Russian Federation can solve a problem due to the cheaper electricity, even if the purchase price is by US$10 higher than the price at which power was bought from Kuchurgan earlier. But we return under Transnistrian control in terms of energy security. The Transnistrian region is a gray area and what now seems an advantage can turn into an instrument dictated by Moscow as Russia controls any behavior through its marionettes in Tiraspol. We pay a lower price for electricity, of US$73, but will have to pay more for natural gas as we generously offer the whole amount of Russian gas to the Transnistrian region. When there is a separatist enclave, not only the economic price, but also the geopolitical implications matter,” said CUB chairman Igor Munteanu.

On December 3, SA Energocom signed a contract for the supply of electricity with MGRES (Kuchurgan power plant) for December. It was also agreed to extend the contract for January-March 2023. This way, Chisinau in December will buy 204,000 MW at the price of US$73 per MW from MGRES. Instead, Moldovagaz offers the left side of the Nistru the whole amount of 5.7 million m3 of gas delivered by Gazprom to the Republic of Moldova.

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