State of energy emergency in Timișoara
To the attention of:
Ms Kadri Simson, EU Commissioner for Energy
Mr Frans Timmermans, Commissioner for the European Green Deal
Brussels, 27 October 2021
Dear Commissioner Simson,
Dear Commissioner Timmermans,
I am reaching out to you regarding the alarming situation in Timișoara city in Romania, a municipality of over 300.000 inhabitants.
Since several days already, the energy provider E.ON Gaz România, which is affiliated to E.ON Ruhrgas, stopped the scheduled delivery of gas to the operator of the entire district heating system (DHS) chain of Timișoara city, against the earlier agreed arrangement with the municipal authorities. As you can imagine, this leaves without heating the whole population of Timișoara, including the entities of critical importance, such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, kindergartens, etc. This is even more dramatic in current situation where the hospitals are overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients and the atmospheric temperature falls. Prolongation of the gas delivery suspension would lead to a localised humanitarian crisis and severe sanitary challenges.
The unilateral decision of E.ON Gaz România to stop the gas supply goes against the principles of Regulation (EU) 2017/1938 on measures to safeguard the security of gas supply. EU must take every effort to prevent gas disruptions from third-country suppliers, like Russia. But it should also guarantee that European companies do not put at risk energy security of individual municipalities. And considering that Timișoara is heavily reliant on E.ON Gaz România, their decision to disrupt the delivery is a very negative precedent that I hope you can address. Currently, E.ON Gaz România claims it would deliver gas only upon new financial conditions that are not viable for the municipality, citing the gas market. The company would charge the municipality on a day-by-day basis with the prices updated every day. Considering the rising energy prices on international markets, this would make it impossible for the authorities of Timișoara to arrange a budgetary planning for the energy spending, as well to safeguard the budgetary balance. As you can see, this puts Timișoara authorities in a position where it is impossible for them to stand up to their legal obligations.
As severe as Timișoara’s case is, it is an example of what cities or even entire countries in European Union can face this winter.
Therefore, I kindly ask you to intervene in this particular case and recall parties involved to their obligations in guaranteeing energy security. We need to make sure that technical, legal and financial arrangements are put in place for the re-establishment of energy supply in the city at the earliest possible time.
Also, please let us know what are the measures that the Commission is implementing in preventing something like this from happening in other cities across the EU.
I sincerely rely on you, as the EU Commissioner for Energy, to pay attention to the gas disruption in Timișoara and I hope the solution can be found in the nearest time with the help of Commission services.
Members of Renew Europe Group of the European Parliament: