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National Assembly holds hearings of representatives of institutions in charge of the energy sector and the pricing of electricity

The National  Assembly has held hearings of the caretaker prime minister, Marin Raykov,  the Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism, Assen Vassilev, the President of the State Agency for Energy and Waters Regulation, Evgenia Haritonova, the Executive Director of the National Electric Power Company, Ivo Lefterov, and of the Executive Director of the Bulgarian Energy Holding, Mikhail Andonov. The topic of the hearings was the current state of the energy sector and the electricity prices in the country. The hearings were broadcast live on the channels of the national Bulgarian Radio and Television.

The deputies took interest in the financial state of the Bulgarian Energy Holding, the Nuclear Power Station and the Thermal Power Station “Maritsa –Iztok” – 2, about the deficiencies of the energy system and about the available reserves lately announced of BGN 240 million to reduce electricity prices.

The prime minister of the caretaker government, Marin Raykov, declared the system succeeded  by his government had many disproportions, accumulated in the last 20 years, and was facing a collapse due to overproduction. The energy regulator had planned in the previous pricing period fewer quantities of green energy than the ones really produced and paid that has led to a financial hole amounting to hundred million leva.

In his opinion there exist also deficiencies in the current legal base, which does not comply with   the European Directive, and makes the state National Electric Holding to buy electricity from ineffective power stations. The long-term contracts, inherited by the government, contain extremely high prices of electricity that must be paid by customers. This situation has led people to go to the streets, he added.

The head of the State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation, Evgenia Haritonova, explained in the plenary that the commission had started to change the existing model of price formation but confirmed amendments to the legal framework were a must. The new model foresees the division between the regulated and the free market making all who buy energy on the free market to buy a portion of the expensive (from renewable energy sources) electricity.

According to the energy, economy and tourism minister the contracts with the power stations “Maritsa Iztok” I and III should be  renegotiated, adding that when overproduction occurs the power stations should continue its production on condition to sell the over quantities to buyers outside the country or halt working. 

The executive director of the National Electric Company, Ivo Lefterov, stated his company has started to renegotiate its long-term contracts for purchase of electricity, adding the financial state of the company has been the worst since its creation. The losses incurred by the company last year before taxes amount to 99 million leva, the consolidated loss was 192 million leva and 234 million leva  was the operating activities loss.

After the hearing “Coalition for Bulgaria” stated it will propose to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to revise its current system for household heating assistance in order to cover a larger group of households and start immediately, together with the Commission on Energy and Water Regulation, work on the introduction of two scale system of electricity consumption pricing with a lower price for up to 75 KWh.

The “Ataka” party said they will submit to the parliament a proposal for moratorium on the prices of electricity. Volen Siderov, the leader of Ataka, said the ever increasing prices of electricity make people more poor and dependent.

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