Sofia Heating Utility Fined BGN 125 000 for Abuse of Dominant Position

Business » ENERGY | May 19, 2015, Tuesday // 12:15
Bulgaria: Sofia Heating Utility Fined BGN 125 000 for Abuse of Dominant Position Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court (VAS) has allowed the Commission for Protection of Competition (KZK) to impose a penalty of BGN 125 000 on heating utility Toplofikatsiya Sofia for abuse of dominant position.

Mario Gavrilov, Spokesperson for the competition watchdog, announced in a Tuesday interview fort the Bulgarian National Television that VAS had reduced the penalty almost three times, regardless of the fact that the court had accepted all the motives stated by the KZK.

Gavrilov argued that companies felt encouraged to keep violating competition rules as a result because the profits brought by the infringements were huge, while the fines were negligible.

He explained that the heating utility had been penalized for preventing a company from entering the heat accounting market.

Gavrilov went on to say that the competition watchdog had called for changes to the Energy Efficiency Act due to the unnecessary requirements for the market participants.

Over the past few days the competition watchdog also fined power distributor CEZ and the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC) for abuse of dominant position, dnevnik.bg reminds.

Meanwhile, Toplofikatsiya Sofia requested a shortening of the deadline for the payment of bills and a longer time limit for breakdown recovery.

The proposal for changes to the company’s general conditions was submitted to the Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (KEVR) for approval.

However, the energy watchdog declared in a report that the proposal was unacceptable because the measures posed a disadvantage to the customers of the heating utility, according to Trud daily.

Toplofikatsiya Sofia insisted that customers had to pay their bills within two weeks after receiving the invoice.

The company sought to include in its general conditions a provision that heating bills were to be paid by the end of the month following the month of the invoice.

The invoice is usually issued in the middle of the month following the month of the invoice, meaning that customers would be left with some 15 days to pay their bills.

According to KEVR, the current scheme should remain in place and the payment deadline should stay at 45 days after the end of the month of the invoice.

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Tags: Supreme Administrative Court, VAS, Commission for Protection of Competition, KZK, abuse of dominant position, Toplofikatsiya Sofia, heating utility, power distributor, CEZ, Bulgarian Telecommunications Company, BTK
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