Bulgarians to Not Pay Electricity Bills In Case of Substandard, Unstable Supply for 10 Days

Business » ENERGY | August 21, 2013, Wednesday // 16:53
Bulgaria: Bulgarians to Not Pay Electricity Bills In Case of Substandard, Unstable Supply for 10 Days

If power supply is unstable and substandard for a period of over 10 days in a month, the customer will not have to pay their electricity bill for the respective month, according to a set of proposed amendments to Bulgaria's Energy Act.

The legal changes were presented Wednesday by Yavor Kuyumdzhiev, socialist MP and Deputy Chair of the parliamentary energy committee, at a discussion on the topic of enhancing consumer protection against monopoly abuse by utility companies, according to reports of Sega daily.

Under the amendments, power distributors will have to pay compensation for damages attributable to the poor quality of the service and consumers will be entitled to file compensation claims within 3 years after the event.

Under Bulgaria's existing legislation, the period for claiming damages is 3 days.

During Wednesday's meeting, representatives of the Ministry of Economy and Energy and the State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (DKEVR) claimed that a period of 3 years was too long.

Slavcho Smilkov, head of the "Complaints" Directorate of DKEVR, argued that a period of 1-3 months was reasonable, while the introduction of a 3-year deadline for the submission of damage claims would result in a frightful situation.

Alexander Maslarski from the Consumer Protection Commission underscored that the legal provisions had to make it explicit that all costs related to cutting off and restoring electricity supply would be shouldered by the operator of the power distribution network.

The set of amendments also envisages that if the electricity meter reading for a certain month is 30% higher compared to the same month of the previous year, the customer will be entitled to file an objection and will not have to pay the bill until the objection is reviewed or until a court decision enters into force.

The legal changes also envisage the abolition of the fee of BGN 19 M for restoring power supply to a consumer which has been disconnected due to non-payment of electricity bills.

Power distributors will be required to inform customers about a looming power supply cut-off by SMS, fax, or letter, according to preference.

Kuyumdzhiev vowed Wednesday to submit to Parliament the set of proposed Energy Act amendments over the next few days.

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Tags: electricity bills, power supply, power distributors, Yavor Kuyumdzhiev, State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation, DKEVR, Ministry of Economy and Energy, energy act
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