Bulgaria's Energy Watchdog Chair Vows Amendments against Price Spikes
Angel Semerdzhiev, Chair of the State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (DKEVR), has explained that a set of proposed amendments to the Energy Act aims to allow more frequent updates of prices of renewable electricity.
In a Tuesday statement, he noted that the legal changes would introduce quarterly price updates of electricity from renewable energy sources, while the current rates are subject to annual revision.
He argued that the opportunity for more frequent revisions of preferential tariffs for purchasing renewable energy would help prevent an investor boom in the sphere.
Semerdzhiev informed that the price changes would not affect electricity bills immediately but would be reflected in the next pricing period.
The Chair of DKEVR said that the amendments would prevent shock price spikes like the one from July 1.
Semerdzhiev yet again stressed that the 13% increase in electricity prices was die to the renewable energy surcharge.
The Chair of the energy watchdog specified that the current annual revision of end consumer prices would remain in place.
He said that the proposed amendments were backed by the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism and by Parliament and would most likely be passed.
Semerdzhiev drew attention to the fact that the changes to the Energy Act would allow DKEVR to revise price updates if any of the price forming elements had been changed by over 10%.
Semerdzhiev noted that prices for energy from photovoltaics had been artificially inflated in April, May and June.
He defended annual revisions of electricity tariffs, saying that any increases in costs would not affect consumers immediately but would be taken into account at the July 1 price update.
The Chair of the energy watchdog insisted he was doing a good job and added that he would not resign.
He came under severe criticism after DKEVR's last-minute approval of a dramatic increase in power rates.
Meanwhile, the Podkrepa Confederation of Labor insisted that the State Agency for National Security (DANS) should investigate DKEVR for corruption.
In a letter sent Tuesday to Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and Parliament Chair Tsetska Tsacheva, the trade union also urged all members of DKEVR to resign.
Podkrepa said that the investigation at DKEVR was necessary due to the dramatic increase in power, water and natural gas rates from July 1.
On July 1, electricity prices in Bulgaria went up by an average 13%, gas prices increased by 4.88% and water tariffs in Sofia went up by 5%.
Podkrepa argued that Bulgaria was in danger because DKEVR had had the impudence to prevent trade unions from examining its methods of operation.
The trade unionists further declared that DKEVR members had to resign because they were undermining social peace and endangering the financial and economic stability of the country.
On Monday, nationalist party Ataka called for the resignation of DKEVR Chair Angel Semerdzhiev.
Semerdzhiev, however, said that the energy watchdog was subject to the control of the Supreme Administrative Court (VAS) and recommended that all complaints be referred to VAS.
Business organizations in Bulgaria have vowed to appeal the new power tariffs at VAS.
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