Bulgarian Employers Urge Price Caps on Power Purchases from AES, ContourGlobal Plants
The four nationally-represented employers' organizations in Bulgaria - BIA, BCCI, BICA and CEIB – have asked the government to suspend payments above market prices for electricity generated by AES Galabovo and ContourGlobal Maritza East 3 power plants.
The two lignite coal-fired plants, owned by U.S-based AES and ContourGlobal, respectively, are popularly known in Bulgaria as the American power stations.
The employers want the government to cap the purchase prices for electricity produced by the two plants at market levels until the European Commission decides on whether payments above those levels constitute illegal state aid, investor.bg reported on Tuesday.
Bulgaria’s energy regulator DKEVR asked the EU Commission in the summer of 2014 to state its position on the preferential power purchase prices agreed with the two power plants. The employers associations asked the Commission the same question last month.
The heads of the four employers’ associations alerted the Chief Prosecutor’s Office last week about alleged irregularities in the energy sector, including the sale of the two thermal power plants in the Maritsa Iztok coal mining and energy complex to the US-based investors.
According to Vasil Velev, Chairman of the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA), Bulgaria is granting illegal state aid in the amount of BGN 333 M a year to the two power plants, thus increasing the electricity bills of Bulgarian industrial enterprises, investor.bg said.
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