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Romania Table of Contents



Crisis of the 1980s

Despite significant energy resources and an extensive industry to exploit them, the sector performed poorly during the 1980s, seriously damaging economic performance as a whole and causing great hardship for the population. In 1986, for example, electricity production fell 2.6 percent below target; this poor performance resulted in an estimated 4.7 percent reduction in national income. Not only was the goal of energy self-sufficiency by 1990 not fulfilled, all trends indicated that in the 1990s Romania would be increasingly dependent on imported fuels and electricity--especially from the Soviet Union. The sector performed so poorly that Ceausescu issued a decree in 1985 militarizing the energy industry. That decree stated that a military commander and subordinate cadres would be assigned to each power plant to improve its efficiency and ensure uninterrupted operation.

The energy program for the 1980s called for drastically reducing reliance on oil and gas, while increasing the contribution of coal, hydroelectric power, nuclear power, and nonconventional sources (see table 8, Appendix). Romanian industry was among the world's least energy-efficient. Measures to reduce waste were largely unsuccessful, and the population bore the brunt of conservation, even though private households accounted for only about 6 percent of total consumption. During the 1980s, the government strictly rationed electricity, natural gas, gasoline, and other oil products, levying heavy fines for exceeding ration allotments.

Data as of July 1989