Romania plans to postpone October household gas price rise

BUCHAREST Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:59am EDT

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BUCHAREST Aug 26 (Reuters) - Romania will not enforce a planned hike in gas prices for households due in October because of a dispute over gas exports with the European Commission, Energy Minister Razvan Nicolescu said on Tuesday.

In a bid to limit price increases, Romania's energy regulator requires local gas producers to channel supplies to domestic households.

However, the Commission would like Romania, one of the EU's least import-dependent states with regards to energy, to eliminate that requirement.

Nicolescu said the country would postpone its deregulation of the market until the dispute was resolved.

"We intend not to enforce the domestic gas price hike agreed ... for Oct. 1," Nicolescu said in a statement.

Romanian energy regulator ANRE had planned a 3 percent hike in gas prices for households in October, part of a move to deregulate gas and electricity markets in stages by 2018.

More than 8 million Romanians and some industrial consumers pay electricity and gas prices set by ANRE, which are generally capped below market levels. (Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Mark Potter)

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