Thousands of Miners Rally for Protest in Bulgarian Capital SofiaEnergy | March 5, 2013, Tuesday // 11:49| views
Photo by BGNES
Several thousand miners thermal plant workers from the Maritsa East complexes – which harbors three of the largest Bulgarian TPPs, as well as those from the Bobov Dol TPP – have rallied in the downtown of the Bulgarian capital Sofia Tuesday morning.
The rally was held before the building of Bulgaria's State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (DKEVR).
The miners and energy workers protest the fact that even though the energy that they produce is cheaper than energy from other sources, it remains largely ignored by the state regulator allowing the three power utilities – CEZ, EVN, and Energo-Pro – to charge excessive prices for electricity, which in turn led recently to mass street protests across Bulgaria and the resignation of the Borisov Cabinet.
On Sunday, Bulgaria's Electricity System Operator turned off three of the units of the state-owned Maritsa East 2 TPP, as well as three more units at TPP Maritsa East 1 and TPP Maritsa East 3.
ESO made this move based on the current legislation which states that energy from solar and wind parks has to be bought out before energy from other sources regardless of the fact that it is several times more expensive.
The miners are concerned they might lose their jobs if DKEVR permanently removes the TPPs – which produce more expensive energy than Bulgaria's nuclear power plant in Kozloduy – from the so called "energy mix" that is used in order to determine the electricity price in Bulgaria.
Even though on Monday DKEVR said it planned no such move, the miners and TPP worker have gone ahead with their protest rally anyway.
Over 30 buses with protesting miners and TPP workers arrived in Sofia for the protest rally, with railway workers concerned about the volumes of coal transported by BDZ Freight Services also flocking to the demonstration.
"We Want Work", chanted the protesters as they arrived before the DKEVR building where they emptied a sack of coal on the ground as a means of protesting any decision that might hurt the coal mining in Bulgaria.
They insisted that the state set up a state fund called "Green Energy" that is supposed to assume some of the costs of renewable energy so that it does not affect the electricity prices for the end consumer.