The Competition Council recommends to local authorities to make contracts for the public lighting service compatible, in terms of duration, with the provisions of the relevant legislation, respectively with Law no. 51/2006, taking into account the investments the operator is required to make, according to a press release issued by the competition authority.
This is one of the recommendations made by the competition authority following the conduct of the sectoral survey on the public lighting services market existing at the level of the county’s municipalities.
Thus, the Competition Council considers that, in the case of public lighting contracts awarded by direct custody, their duration should be limited to a maximum of five years, given that the market remains closed for competition during the course of the contract.
The public lighting service is part of the community services of public utilities, being carried out at the level of the administrative-territorial units, under the coordination and responsibility of the local public administration authorities.
As a result, the administrative-territorial units are the only ones able to establish for the citizens within its competence whether it is for their benefit to award the public lighting service through competitive procedures or must intervene by assigning directly through a decision to give to administration a service with legal personality subordinated to the local council.
Operators who provide public lighting services under management delegation contracts or based on local authority administration-giving decisions must hold licenses issued by the National Regulatory Authority for Public Utilities Services (ANRSC).
Following the analysis, the Competition Council recommends to the local public authorities to ensure that neither through the delegation contract nor through any other act the operator is given the possibility of self-regulation (deciding where to invest, the value of festive lighting and locations, etc.).
The competition authority also recommends that local public authorities attach greater importance to the way in which the documentation for selecting participation criteria and awarding participation is drawn up so that the outcome of the auctions is not affected.
Of the 41 county seat municipalities, 29 awarded public lighting contracts through competitive procedures to private equity firms, eight municipalities entrusted the service to public-owned operators (three companies and five legal personality services), three municipalities attributed the service to public capital operators (for maintenance) and to private-equity operators (for festive lighting), and a municipality has assigned the service of a private operator (for maintenance) and a public capital operator (for festive lighting).
Amounts paid for public lighting services by county seat municipalities fluctuate quite a lot from year to year. Thus, if in 2016 the total value paid for the public lighting service at the level of all the county municipalities was 196.1 million lei, in 2017 the amount increased by 29%, so that in 2018 it would return to a level close to in 2016, respectively 200.9 million lei.
The same variations were registered at the level of Bucharest Municipality, which paid for public lighting in 2018 69.28 million lei, less by 35.4% compared to 2017.
And in terms of festive lighting, during the analyzed period, the amounts paid by the municipalities fluctuated quite a lot in the last years: 24.6 million lei in 2016, 35.3 million lei in 2017 and 31.6 million lei in 2018.
In the analysis, the Competition Council found that the amounts allocated by each municipality for festive lighting were quite high, even more than 50% of the total value of the annual contracts for public lighting.
Thus, in 2016, Galaţi was the first city with 77% of the total annual amount of the entire public lighting service in the city, ie 1.8 million lei, followed by Buzău, 72% (946.000 lei), and Vaslui, with 60% (897,000 lei). In 2017, Constanta and Ploiesti ranked the highest regarding percentages in the municipalities that allocated the festive lighting to 87%, representing 9 million lei and 1.5 million lei, respectively. In 2018, the ranking is headed by Buzau, 88% of the amount paid annually for public lighting (1.6 million lei), followed by Constanta, with 87%, representing 5.1 million lei.
In Bucharest, the festive lighting cost 5.1 million lei in 2017 and 12.9 million lei in 2018, representing 4.7% and 18.6% respectively of the annual value of the public lighting services.
From the point of view of investments, in 2016, Călărași was the first to allocate 86% of the total value of the public lighting service, which means that they paid 1.9 million lei, and Drobeta-Turnu Severin, with 84% (3.3 million lei). In 2017, Slobozia paid 97% of the total value of the public lighting contract, ie 3.2 million lei, followed by Călăraşi, with 87%, representing 1.8 million lei. In 2018 the highest payers were Călărași and Sfântu Gheorghe, who paid 83% of the total amount allocated to the lighting service (1.9 million lei and 757.000, respectively) lei).
At the end of 2017, 626 operators were operating in the field of public lighting community service, and each of them could participate in auctions in any commune, town or city. Their number increased compared to previous years, given that in 2015 there were 588 operators and in 2013 there were 578 operators.