Electricity Price Hike 'Possible', Says Bulgarian Energy Watchdog
Prices of electricity might go up if power distributors can prove their expenses have increased.
Boyan Boev, chief of Bulgaria's State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (known as DKEVR), has made these comments ahead of the watchdog's decision whether to scrap current license regimes of power distributors over claims by the National Electric Company (NEK) they have not paid their debts to the state entity.
A price hike was demanded by power distributors as their revenues do not meet their actual costs. Power Distributors owe some BGN 318 M to NEK, and the deadline to deliver on payments was March 18.
Distributors CEZ, EVN, and Energo-Pro have explained they do not have debts to NEK and that, furthermore, they are to receive money from the state entity as they have not collected taxes from renewable energy sources.
Bulgarian DARIK radio quotes EVN's CEO Jorg Sollfelner as saying NEK owes some BGN 248 M to the company.
Economy Minister Dragomir Stoynev has however threatened to suspend permits if power distributors do not transfer the respective sums. Stoynev has accused power distributors of endangering Bulgaria's national security, vowing to refer the matter to the prosecuting authority and threatening them with nationalization.
DKEVR warned that it would launch a procedure for the termination of licenses of the three power distributors on Wednesday unless the money was transferred to the accounts of NEK. NEK did not accept a transfer of BGN 32 M from power distributor EVN on Tuesday, saying that the sum had been defined as short-term liquidity of NEK. Meanwhile, power distributor CEZ transferred BGN 8.07 M to the accounts of NEK and pledged to make two more payments by end-March.
Reports by some Bulgarian media have suggested NEK is on the brink of banktruptcy.
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