The free connection of household customers to electricity distribution networks generated benefits
The number of household customers’ connections to the energy distribution networks
increased in 2018-2022, with operators allocating more important funds both for the
connection of new consumers and for the expansion of electricity networks of public inter est,
according to a study conducted by the Competition Council. This increase in activity occurred
following the implementation of the provisions whereby final customers were connected free
of charge, the costs being borne by the distribution system operat ors.
“This measure was especially useful for communities with a lower population density, where
operators are more reluctant to expand, as the costs are high” said Bogdan Chiritoiu,
president of the Competition Council.
Thus, in 2018-2022, the number of household customers’ connections to energy distribution
networks increased from 8.798.964 in June 2018 to 9.280.920 in June 2022. During the period
when household customers had, according to the law, free access to the net work, from the
first semester of 2020 to the second half of 2021, the number of connection requests
increased significantly. For example, the number of online applications increased more than
10 times, accounting for 40% of all applications.
However, there were also malfunctions in the connection process, mainly due to frequent
changes in the legislation, with distribution system operators having to reorganise their
activities and re adapt their internal procedures. This short and medium term legislative
uncertainty has led to an increase in the connection time. Thus, the average annual duration
of the connection process increased by about 30%, from 92 days in 2018 to 120 days in 2021.
In the study, the competition authority also identified some barriers to the connection
process. One of these concerns the difficulties encountered by end users in fully
understanding the connection activity, which is a complex one and involves going through
many technical procedures.
If in the period between the first semester of 2020 and the second half of 2021, the legislation
provided free access for household consumers to the electricity grid, the costs being borne by
the distribution system operators, currently there is no free of charge. The current regulations
provide that the applicant (household consumer) is obliged to bear the actual value of the
design and execution works of the connection, being compensated by the operator only
within the limit of the average value of a conn ection, a value established by National Energy
Regulatory Authority .
As a result, the competition authority recommends ensuring a clear, predictable and transparent legal framework in which to consult the actors concerned by the potential transparent legal framework in which to consult the actors concerned by the potential changes. Also, the Competition Council supports the reduction of some deadlines within the connection process and the development of a code of best practices in the user connection activity.
The study on the activity of connecting household customers to electricity distribution networks can be consulted on the institution’s website: networks can be consulted on the institution’s website: www.consiliulconcurentei.ro
06.09.2023 / Editor, Andreea Dragan
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