EC Worried about License Suspension Procedure for Bulgarian Power COs
The European Commission has expressed concern over the ongoing License suspension procedure for three power distributors in Bulgaria, hinting at possible penalty measures.
EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger sent a letter to Bulgarian Economy and Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev stating his worries over the problem and the lack of reform in the sphere of electrical energy.
Oettinger's Spokesperson Sabine Berger commented that the decision to start a procedure for the termination of the licenses of power distributors EVN, CEZ and Energo-Pro was apparently related to disputes over mutual indebtedness between these companies and the state-owned company National Electric Company (NEK).
"The European Commission believes that trade disputes between energy companies must first be solved by the respective courts in Bulgaria which use the available instruments of civil law and commercial legislation," Berger emphasized.
Oettinger's Spokesperson added that Bulgaria's State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (DKEVR) had the task of guaranteeing the application of the specific legislation in the energy sector and that this task included inspections aimed at establishing whether the permits granted to the power distributors were being observed and whether the power suppliers had sufficient financial capacity to conduct their activities.
"DKEVR must fulfill its role as an entity which is absolutely independent from the government or market interests, without seeking or accepting instructions from the authorities," Berger emphasized, adding that the decisions of the Commission had to be proportionate and well-motivated.
She underscored that the EC would follow the matter closely, remaining ready to take the necessary steps if the government failed to acknowledge the independence of DKEVR or if the energy watchdog did not fulfill its obligations stipulated in the EU's Third Energy Package.
Berger did not specify concrete measures which could be taken against Bulgaria.
According to the Bulgarian National Radio, EU law envisages an infringement procedure in such cases.
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