December 9, 2022

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Telecommunications operators, reaction to changes in the field of Energy. “Creates risk of major disruption”

The telecommunications companies request the urgent inclusion of the telecom sector in the scope of the provisions regarding the capping of energy tariffs.

“The changes in the field of Energy brought by the Government through Emergency Ordinance No. 119/2022 produce a major destabilizing effect on telecommunications services and seriously affect investment plans in the field. Through the mentioned GEO, promoted by the Government in the meeting of September 1, 2022, without consultation publicly, without respecting any instrument of decision-making transparency, the Executive removed from one day to the next, seven months earlier, the electricity price ceiling thresholds on the basis of which electronic communications providers built their business plans for the years 2022 – 2023. Through this GEO, the Executive cancels the development, investment and cost estimates made by electronic communications operators for the specific infrastructure. The operation of networks, considered to be of strategic importance, especially in the current geo-political context, involves a permanent consumption and significantly of electricity”, it is mentioned in a communique as of the Association of Mobile Operators from Romania, according to Agerpres.

Operators in the telecom sector indicate that, taking into account the context of the announced 5G spectrum auction, which involves substantial investments by telecom operators, as well as the fact that telephone and internet services are essential and can be found in all aspects of economic, social and education in Romania, the adoption of this Emergency Ordinance “creates the risk of a major disruption, with a negative effect on the entire economy and society as a whole and endangers Romania’s digitization efforts”.

“We mention that Romania benefits from the lowest telephone and internet prices in Europe, the average income per user being 6.3 euros compared to, for example, 11.38 euros in Hungary, 14.92 euros in Spain, 20.17 euro in France, while the quality of services in Romania is superior to the quality of services in other European countries. We note that Romania is currently in last place in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), published by the European Commission in 2022 (as well as in 2021), and the adopted measures make it even more difficult to recover the existing digital gap compared to the other European states”, the AOMR members emphasize.

They request the competent authorities to analyze the compliance and effects of the provisions of this GEO with the rules of competition and state aid, given that the telecommunications sector, a sector of strategic importance for Romania, supports the full spectrum of economic and social activities of Romania.

“Given the fact that the effects of the GEO provisions in the short, medium and long term are major, we believe that, in order to avoid them, it is necessary to urgently include the telecom sector in the scope of the provisions relating to the capping of electricity tariffs”, points out telecom operators.

The GEO adopted on Thursday by the Executive provides for the capping of a maximum of 1 leu/kWh, including VAT, for 85% of the average monthly consumption at the point of consumption in 2021, in the case of small and medium-sized enterprises, of economic operators in the field of the food industry, in the basis of the declaration on personal responsibility of the legal representative. The difference in monthly electricity consumption is invoiced according to the provisions of the supply contract.

Ordinance 27/2022, stipulated the ceiling at “maximum 1 leu/kWh, with VAT included, in the case of non-domestic customers”.

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