Bulgaria Gov't, Businesses, Trade Unions Propose Energy Law Changes
Bulgarian business, labor unions and government officials have tabled new amendments to energy legislation which envisages state aid for industrial energy consumers.
Draft measures to provide reliefs to large industrial consumers have also been approved.
According to the proposals discussed at a meeting of business organizations and trade unions on Wednesday, energy exporters will also be levied with the "liabilities to the society" tax which companies working on the domestic market have to pay.
If approved, the changes will result in higher costs for exporters, the biggest being state-owned (Maritsa-2 Thermal Power Plant and Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant).
Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova, however, downplayed any risk of job cuts at the two companies and rule out that "reducing wages" was being discussed, the Bulgarian National Radio quotes her as saying.
Vasil Velev, who heads the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA), hailed the outcome of the talks, arguing they were a good reason to either revoke the price hike for industrial consumers scheduled for this summer or only adopt a 1-2% increase.
Under current plans of the energy watchdog, KEVR, electricity bills of industrial consumers could go up 13-20%, a move that has been much criticized by businesses and cabinet members alike.
The three negotiating "sides" also agreed to create an internet platform which will promote transparency in the energy sector to shed light on ownership and affiliation of certain energy experts to certain "interests".
Velev also said ministers have proposed that a "scale" be formed to calculate consumption and the respecive relief that should be applied to industrial facilities accordingly.
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