Disgruntled Bulgarian Miners Ready to Stage Protest Rally

Energy | March 3, 2013, Sunday // 19:00|  views

The three open-pit mines at Maritsa Iztok Mines AD supply coal to four Thermal Power Plants, whose output covers 25% of the country's electricity needs. File photo

Bulgarian miners are also preparing to stage a protest rally over the threat of having the country's Thermal Power Plants, TPPs, being taken off the energy grid.

The rally will be held Tuesday before the headquarters of the State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation, DKEVR, when the watchdog is expected to announce the final reduction of electric power prices.

DKEVR, and all three power distributors, CEZ, EVN, and Energo-Pro have proposed to lower these prices between 5% and 7%, effective March 1.

The change is to become effective immediately.

It will happen by reducing the costs of the power distributors and removing the TPPs using coal from the energy mix as they are deemed to be costly as well.

The measure, however, is expected to lead to the closure of the TPPs and of the coal mines.

About 2 000 miners are expected to rally in Sofia.

Trade union leader, Valentin Valchev, told Darik radio that the miners were outraged by the statement of outgoing Economy and Energy Minister, Delyan Dobrev, it would be better to have 500 of them be hungry than have millions rallying on the streets.

There has been contradicting information reported earlier that according to the National Electric Company, NEK, the outgoing government has restricted the production of the cheapest electric power from TPPs over low consumption, which will trigger a new hike in consumers' electric bills.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands across Bulgaria took to the streets once again Sunday in unprecedented since 1997 protest rallies against unbearable utility bills, monopolies and wide-spread poverty that turned into a civil unrest against the political model of ruling the country.

The demonstrations led to the resignation of the government of Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, and his ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB

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Tags: protest, rally, mines, coal, miners, Delyan Dobrev, Economy and Energy Minister, solar plants, renewable sources, NPP, Kozloduy, WPP, TPPs, Maritza Iztok, TPP, DKEVR, hike, prices, price, electricity, NEK, National Electric Company, resignation, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, GERB


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