Power Utilities Warn of Looming Price Hike in Bulgaria
The measures of Bulgaria's Socialist-led rulers against alleged monopolies in the energy sector can lead to a huge hike in electricity prices.
The warning has come from senior insider sources from two out of the three power distributors in Bulgaria, speaking off-the-record for bTV.
The final draft of the new legislation is going to be debated by the MPs on Monday. The Bill includes texts giving more rights to consumers and stepping up control on monopolies.
One of the new measures in it bans power utilities from cutting off electric power of consumers unless they missed paying their bill for a third consecutive month or the overdue amount exceeds BGN 310, which is the minimum monthly wage in the country.
Even then, customers will be warned by phone, short text message (SMS), email, or a letter. Reinstating power after the bill is paid will be free of charge and must happen within 4 hours.
In case the monthly electric bill is more than 30% higher than the one from the previous month, the customer has the right to not pay it until the power distributor proves the use of electricity for this amount.
In addition, when the distributor supplies low-voltage power for more than 10 days in a month, the bill is written off, while systematic supply of low-voltage power can lead to license revocation.
The senior sources have told bTV that the new legislation will force the power utilities to make expenses and investments amounting to BGN 2.5 B or declare insolvency, which will lead to a price hike of 5%-7% in the summer and up to 42% in the upcoming winter.
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