The Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority (“ANRE”) issued a new regulation (the “Regulation”) about access to the natural gas distribution network and about the steps and procedures that establish which applicants may use such natural gas distribution network.
The Regulation applies to relations between the operators holding a license to operate the natural gas distribution network and:
- applicants seeking access to the natural gas distribution network; and
- holders of natural gas supply licenses, including regulated services supply agreements.
Access to natural gas distribution networks may be granted only under natural gas distribution network agreements concluded between the applicable parties.
The main amendments introduced by the new regulation:
- simplify the process for access to natural gas distribution networks by regulating the situations under which applicants may approach network operators to ask for access to the natural gas distribution network; i.e., when asking for access to a distribution network for a new user or when supplementing the technical capacity previously approved for a certain user;
- establishes the manner of access to natural gas distribution networks by regulating the template for such a request, the relevant documents to be included, and the means of submitting the request;
- the procedure to be followed if the submission is incomplete or the applicant did not submit all the relevant documents;
- the manner by which the natural gas distribution networks agreement is concluded.
However, the most important provision of the new Regulation is the obligation for network operators to establish an electronic database that includes all necessary data for network access management, including information about the name of the final customer, the consumption place address, the name of the natural gas supplier, and the number and date of the agreement, etc.
This database can be accessed by final customers or by natural gas suppliers with the written consent of the final customer or the natural gas supply, by concluding an agreement between the final customer and the natural gas supplier requesting access to the electronic database.
Moreover, under the new regulation, the network operator is required to publish on its website information such as the list of administrative-territorial units for which it holds an operating license, the services provided as per such operating license, the list of access points to distribution networks and the name of the natural gas transportation network operator, etc.
This Regulation is also applicable to the requests submitted before the effective date of the legislation only if access agreements were not already issued that address this topic.
 Regulation of 25 May 2018 on access to natural gas distribution systems, as approved by Order of the President of ANRE no. 97/2018, published in the Official Gazette of Romania no. 447 of 29 May 2018.