Power Utilities Commited Administrative Offenses not Crimes in 2010
Rumyana Arnaudova, Spokesperson of the Sofia City Prosecutor's Office, has argued that the violations of power distributors which the State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (DKEVR) reported to the prosecuting authority in 2010 did not constitute a general crime and were no reason to launch an investigation.
In a Thursday interview for the morning broadcast of Nova TV, Arnaudova commented that the energy watchdog had taken steps to eliminate the irregularities and penalize the three power distributors for the detected violations
She emphasized that the prosecuting authority could determine whether a crime had been committed or not, while the respective administrative court had the competence to decide whether violations had taken place and to determine their scope.
The newly published 2010 tip-off of then-Chair of DKEVR Angel Semerdzhiev about irregularities at the three power distributors operating in Bulgaria, CEZ, EVN and EON, in the period 2005-2009, was referred to then-Chief Prosecutor Boris Velchev, who submitted it to the Supreme Prosecutor's Office of Cassation, which assigned it to a prosecutor from the Sofia City Prosecutor's Office, Snezhana Kopcheva.
Kopcheva launched a probe but did not initiate pre-trial proceedings as she failed to find enough evidence of a crime.
The tip-off shows that power distributors outsourced almost all their activities to related companies without informing state authorities or receiving permission to do so, thereby inflating costs substantially and sidestepping the Public Procurement Act.
The mass protests in Bulgaria in February 2013, which led to the resignation of the center-right GERB government, started over high electricity bills.
People took to the streets to protest the high prices of electricity and the abuses of power distributors, calling for a withdrawal of their licenses.
The growing public discontent caused the prosecuting authority to launch inspections at the three power distributors operating in the country, CEZ, EVN and Energo-Pro.
On April 3, following an inspection of over one month, Bulgaria's prosecuting authority came up with results of the probe indicating serious violations at DKEVR, power distributors, and the National Electric Company (NEK).
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