May 26, 2022

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PGNiG supplied companies with a roller coaster.  Now they are going to court

PGNiG supplied companies with a roller coaster. Now they are going to court

in the beginning of the year We describe the status of entrepreneurs From the Lubuskie Voivodeship, who purchase nitrogen-rich gas from PGNiG. Blue fuel is extracted from a local mine that also belongs to the PGNiG group.

Last year, within a few months, PGNiG raised prices for this gas for these companies by at least five times, as a result of which they increased by more than 600%.

The increases affected international companies and Polish companies in the same way. This has particularly severely affected 17 automakers, whose annual consumption of nitrogen-rich gas is more than 25 million cubic meters.

We promised some offers

But after our publication, the companies met with representatives of the state-owned company and it seemed that an agreement would be reached. However, hopes turned out to be deceptive.

– On the PGNiG side, it was just a game-stop. In the end, we were kicked out with a receipt. PGNiG kept explaining to us that it had to raise prices because gas prices on global exchanges were going up. However, in practice, we were not allowed to buy at exchange rates. Therefore, we believe it is an unequal treatment of customers – say bitter entrepreneurs.

In all, several meetings were held with PGNiG representatives. – A number of entrepreneurs appeared at the first meeting at the state-owned company’s headquarters. All of them, about 20 companies in all, were asked to have further talks with Warsaw. It was as if PGNiG wanted to check our number – says a representative of one of the companies participating in the meeting.

During the conversation, the entrepreneurs shared their situation, including the request for a discount for the previous months, when they paid much higher prices for gas than the stock exchange valuations at the time. – We heard that the decision on this takes time and we need to agree on the rules of accounting – says our interlocutor.

Entrepreneurs considered this to prolong decisions over time. The last meeting was for two days Before the start of the war in Ukraine. Then we got the promise of some shows. Meanwhile, after the outbreak of armed conflict, the price of gas jumped to 1,400 PLN per megawatt-hour. However, in the following days it stabilized at a lower level. Despite this, PGNiG began to offer much higher offers than what was agreed upon before the war – say our interlocutors.

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At the same time, the state-owned company made it clear to them that it had been offering discounts all along. First, it was 25 percent. By the end of February, then 35 per cent. Discount in March. However, the discount was calculated on the very high gas price of 700 PLN per MWh.

It led us to a situation where we are shooting

Entrepreneurs say that Henrik Mucha, head of PGNiG OD, who took part in the talks, was constantly hiding that prices were set by the parent company, PGNiG, and therefore could not make a decision. – Meanwhile, recently, after a change of chair in PGNiG, our representative received a letter from the head of the PGNiG OD, in which he tells that he has all the powers to discuss all necessary issues with us. Tell our interlocutors.

However, entrepreneurs do not intend to wait any longer for any move from PGNiG. – We will claim compensation for the past months. The prices set by PGNiG at that time do not correspond to actual market conditions. We will enter into a collective dispute with a state-owned company – They reported.

Entrepreneurs also sent Message to UOKiK To initiate antitrust proceedings against PGNiG. In their opinion, the state-owned company uses its dominant position in the market in relation to them. As a result, they have to buy gas from PGNiG, because there is no other gas in the region than nitrogen-rich gas.

– It has led us to a situation where we really have to kick people out. We also stopped competing. Let me give you an example, our company in Germany buys gas for 59 euros, which is about PLN 276 per megawatt-hour, while our plant in Poland buys gas for PLN 510 per megawatt-hour. It’s even hard to comment – Says one of the entrepreneurs.

Continuation under the video material

See also: Is Poland enough gas? Time is shrinking at an astonishing speed.

Why is domestic gas more expensive than imported gas from Russia?

However, entrepreneurs from Lubuskie found support from the Ministry of Development. Janusz Gulicki, Undersecretary for Development, wrote a letter about it to Jacek Sasin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State Assets.

The Department of Development expressed its concern about this.The possibility of some entrepreneurs affected by the sharp rises in gas production due to excessive rise in the price of nitrogen-rich gas as part of the PGNiG OD pricing policy.” We read.

But at the moment, it is not known what the end of this intervention will be. We are waiting for a response from the Ministry of Development.

Senator Wadim Teskevich, who has participated in entrepreneurship meetings with PGNiG, claims that state-owned enterprises are constantly shifting responsibility. – PGNiG OD transfers responsibility to the parent company, which, in turn, returns it to the daughter company – comments.

He adds that when gas problems surfaced and blue fuel prices started to rise, it turned out that PGNiG was the biggest speculator, specifically PGNiG OD, dealing with gas distribution.

The government’s attempts to blame everyone for the price hike won’t change that. Because what is the reason that when gas prices began to rise in world markets, the price of domestically produced gas rose faster? After all, the costs of extracting this gas have not increased – the senator wonders.

He adds that the war in Ukraine has made the situation for entrepreneurs even more complicated. – It is incomprehensible why low-quality gas produced in Poland is more expensive than high-octane gas imported, among other things from Russia. At this point, no one knows the answer, he comments.

Integrating PGNiG with Orlen and Lotos won’t improve anything

Janusz Steinhof, former deputy economic prime minister and BCC expert, believes that the example of the corporate situation in Lubuskie County shows all the negative effects of government policy, which instead of fight monopoliesIt strengthens them more.

PGNiG has been using its dominant position in the market for a long time. I tested this myself when I tried to raise gas prices nearly five times. Residents of my neighborhood were treated not as municipal customers, but as a project. So it can be said that the company deliberately used any situation that would allow it to raise prices, he said.

In his opinion, the situation will not improve after the announced merger of PGNiG with Orlen and Lotos. – That is why I am not happy with the high profits that you boast about, for example, the boards of directors of state-owned enterprises. Is it the result of a change in the organization of work in these companies or a decrease in costs? No, they are the result of their dominant position in the market. Unfortunately, the government’s policy is to create powerful state giants that hijack the market. This happens with the complete negativity of UOKiK – he says.

We asked PGNiG to comment on the entrepreneurs’ allegations. We also sent questions to the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. In response, the Bureau informed us that the head of UOKiK sent a letter to PGNiG seeking clarifications on the approved rules for the sale of nitrogen-rich gas (in particular regarding methods for calculating prices in the wholesale market).

At this stage, an in-depth analysis of the information obtained and the indications received by the head of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection is carried out, in particular regarding the method of calculating prices and the terms and conditions of contracts with entrepreneurs. Who are the recipients of the nitrogen-rich gas? We informed the press office of the bureau. PGNiG has not yet responded.

Agnieszka Zielińska, money.pl . journalist