Bulgarian Energy Watchdog Complains to EC about Unlawful State Aid
Bulgaria's energy watchdog has sent two complaints to the European Commission concerning unlawful State aid to two US-owned thermal power plants and to renewable energy producers.
The Chair of the State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (DKEVR) Boyan Boev announced Wednesday that the complaints drew attention to unlawful State aid received by thermal power plants Maritsa Iztok-1 (TPP AES Galabovo) and ContourGlobal Maritsa East 3 and renewable energy producers due to the contracts stipulating the purchase obligations of the National Electricity Company (NEK) to them.
Boev made clear that the energy watchdog wanted the EC to reduce the purchase obligations of NEK, adding that the quota from TPP AES Galabovo had to be reduced by 30%, the quota from ContourGlobal Maritsa East 3 by 20%, and 50% of the units of the two TPPs had to start selling electricity on the free market.
DKEVR also called for a 20% reduction in the price tag of electricity generated by wind farms and a 50-60% decrease in the price of energy produced by photovoltaic plants, according to reports of dnevnik.bg.
The energy watchdog insisted that the restrictions had to enter into force at the beginning of the new regulatory period on July 1. Electricity prices in Bulgaria are determined for 1-year regulatory periods starting on July 1 and expiring on June 30.
Boev warned that DKEVR would be forced to introduce quarterly price updates of the tariffs of NEK to take into account the additional costs, unless steps were taken to restrict the impact of the long-term contracts with the US-owned TPPs and with renewable energy producers.
He noted that the letters to the EC had been sent last week and the EC was to come up with a pronouncement on them.
Boev claimed that the probe of DKEVR had indicated the presence of unlawful state aid, adding that the situation was incompatible with EU law and Bulgarian legislation.
He said that the energy watchdog expected the EC to clear the steps it had requested.
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