Bulgaria's Supreme Administrative Prosecutor's Office to Probe Energy Watchdog
Energy Minister Delyan Dobrev was summoned for a parliamentary hearing to comment on the ongoing mass protests in a number of Bulgarian cities over the high electricity and heating bills.Photo by BGNES
Bulgaria's Supreme Administrative Prosecutor's Office will probe the legality of the acts issued by the State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (DKEVR) as a specialized regulatory body overseeing the application of the Energy Act and related subsidiary legislation.
The inspection was triggered by a series of media publications on the growing discontent of citizens from all over the country with the high prices of electricity and heating, according to a statement of the prosecuting authority published on its website.
According to the statement, the Supreme Administrative Prosecutor's Office will demand all information concerning the watchdog's activities and its oversight over power distributors and heating utilities as regards price formation, accounting, and payment for the energy consumed.
The inspection will also include the oversight of Bulgaria's Privatization and Post-Privatization Control Agency (PPCA) of the implementation of the privatization contracts by the power distributors.
The prosecuting authority vows to provide regular reports of the results of the probe and the steps it takes.
Earlier on Wednesday, Delyan Dobrev, Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism, argued in Parliament that the price formation model for electricity had to be changed.
He was summoned for a parliamentary hearing to comment on the ongoing mass protests in a number of Bulgarian cities over the high electricity and heating bills.
Dobrev claimed that the problem with price formation had been in place for ten years.
Bulgaria's Energy Minister said that the problem stemmed from the fact that the plants included in the mix sold energy at high prices.
He argued that DKEVR had not bothered to find out whether the power distributors and water supply and sewerage operators had really made the investment costs they declared or they were just presenting invoices.
Dobrev admitted that the oversight of DKEVR was inefficient and supported proposals of opposition MPs that the head of the watchdog had to be appointed by Parliament, not the Council of Ministers
Meanwhile, Bulgaria's government appointed a new DKEVR Chair, Yuliana Ivanova, who is to complete Angel Semerdzhiev's term in office expiring on November 9, 2015.
Semerdzhiev was forced to resign over the delayed preparation and adoption of secondary legislation related to the Third Energy Liberalization Package.
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