State of compliance
With the adoption of the new Law on Energy in September 2017, Moldova transposed the requirements of the Third Energy Package as regards the institutional set-up of the National Agency for Energy Regulation (ANRE). This reform was the result of a long consultation process between the Moldovan authorities and the Secretariat. Today, the national legislation on the organisation and independence of ANRE is in line with the Energy Community acquis communautaire except for a few elements, namely a rotation scheme is in place but does not require a sufficiently long lead time between expiries of directors’ terms to guarantee continuous operation of the Agency. Also, the Agency’s management does not have full autonomy over its internal organisation as ANRE’s statues are subject to approval by the Parliament. ANRE is headed by five board members out of whom the Parliament designates one as director. The term of board members is limited to six years, renewable once. ANRE is held accountable for its activities by being obliged to present its annual report to the Parliament.
Other elements for improving the organisational set up and independent operation of ANRE beyond the mere limits of the acquis that have been agreed between the Secretariat, the regulator and the Ministry of Economy in an action plan already in 2016 have not been implemented. Among those, neither standard job descriptions for director positions have been developed nor has a one year cool-off period from political positions before eligibility to apply for a director’s post or a judicial appeal system for decisions to dismiss a director been introduced.
ANRE has made good progress in developing secondary legislation and started taking responsibility for addressing the challenges of the Moldovan energy market. This is also due to a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Secretariat and the regulator in July 2017 and technical assistance provided by the Secretariat. In the reporting period, the Secretariat continued receiving sporadic complaints by the regulated industry and civil society on performance and decisions of the regulator. On the other hand, reports also confirm a certain reduction in the political pressure on ANRE. However, the continuous praxis of the Ministry of Justice to narrow down the Agency’s competences by restrictively interpreting legal provisions is of concern. The Secretariat is of the opinion that powers of national energy regulators must be understood in a way that allows flexible design of the regulatory framework and response to market developments.