BOGDAN BADEA, THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF HIDROELECTRICA

"It is not the pandemic that is the real obstacle to investments, but the legislative jungle"

20 iul. 10:22 English Section
MIHAI GONGOROI (TRANSLATED BY COSMIN GHIDOVEANU)

Hidroelectrica has developed its supply component year after year, and in the coming years, the company's intention is to become an active player on the supplier market, after it doubled the quantity of energy supplied to end consumers in 2019 compared to 2018, the chairman of the company's board of directors, Bogdan Badea, said in an interview. He does say however that the entry on that market mean s the entry into a competition with established actors that are using an infrastructure that has been created over years and who have inherited the customer portfolios from former state owned companies ENEL, CONEL and ELECTRICA.

Badea's statements come after, in the last week, Virgil Popescu. Minister of the economy, energy and business sector has begun placing pressure on Hidroelectrica to come up with offers for household customers in the context of the deregulation of the energy market starting on September 1st, starting in January 1st, 2021, with the minister even saying that it wants to impose upon the management of Romgaz and Hidroelectrica "clear indicators for entering the supplier market for household customers", and "whoever doesn't abide by them, can leave".

The General Manager of Hidroelectrica also states that various state institutions have tried to put pressure on the company, in various forms, so as not to bring to the attention of the general public the fact that GEO 114 - the capping part - was done for no other reason than to transfer the profit of the big Romanian producers to the suppliers of last resort, with absolutely no real benefits for the population.

"The real challenge is to attract new customers by building an infrastructure from scratch. It's an uneven competition and I think a lot more can be done in that regard in terms of regulations and the pertaining legislation, so that we really have a diversified market and supply", says Mr. Badea. He further said that the state must decide if it wants cheap energy for everyone, if investments are more important or if it wants to support the state budget by receiving more in dividends. He also asked whether "we have the ability to profile the vulnerable consumer and organize ourselves to meet their needs in parallel with the continuation of companies' development programs".

Badea also specified that Hidroelectrica has planned to invest over 26 billion lei in the next ten years, the intention of the investment program being to keep intact the green company label of Hidroelectrica, while also adding over 1,300 MW in installed capacity. He stressed that Romania needs to simplify the bureaucratic process in order to reach its investment targets, and that the elimination of the bureaucratization must happen at the governmental level, in terms of establishing sectoral public policies, and, at the next level, of the mechanisms which effectively ensure their fulfillment.

In Bogdan Badea's opinion, it is not the pandemic that is the real obstacle for investments, but the legislative jungle, the lack of predictability, the big and small bureaucracy and the lack of coordination of the various authorities. Among other things, he also told us that, although there are many voices that say this in public, he wants to dismantle once and for all the myth that hydro is cheap.

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