Bulgarian EconMin Reiterates Claims of Looming EC Fine

Energy | July 2, 2013, Tuesday // 11:17|  views

Bulgaria's Economy and Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev, photo by BGNES

The European Commission has started nearly one year ago an infringement procedure against Bulgaria's energy sector breaches and fines are pending any time now, according to Economy and Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev.

Speaking for the Bulgarian National Television, BNT, Tuesday, the Minister reiterated that the country has failed to separate the electricity transmission network from the Electricity System Operator (ESO) by June 30 and the National Electric Company (NEK) may face penalty payments.

Stoynev first issued the warning at an extraordinary press conference on Sunday.

On Monday, the European Commission, EC, rejected his claims that Bulgaria faces a fine of BGN 9000 a day as of July 1 over irregularities in the energy sector.

During his Tuesday interview, the Minister said it was his duty to warn about the fine threat, even though penalties could yet be avoided. He also reiterated that the caretaker Cabinet and caretaker Economy and Energy Minister Asen Vasilev failed to do their job in order to evade the sanctions.

Stoynev pledged the new Socialist-endorsed government and his institution will work very hard for separating the electricity transmission network from ESO and will appoint only top notch experts at key energy posts, unlike the formerly-ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB

Regarding the country's only Nuclear Power Plant, NPP Kozloduy, the Minister assuaged fears of the business sector that its entire production will be exported.

"Bulgarian citizens should profit from the cheap electric power produced there as it was built with their money. In addition, the transit fees are too high and this will be fixed if the Parliament is given time to pass amendments to the Energy Act. We should also consider long-term contracts with key players in the industry sector to guarantee stability and independence. We should not allow any further shocks," said he.

On the issue of the frozen project to build a second NPP in the Danube town of Belene with Russian financing and equipment, Stoynev informed that despite the freeze, lots of money has been wasted on consulting services by the caretaker and GERB Cabinets with GERB signing 6 new annexes to the contract with the Russians.

"We should indeed implement policies that would lead to the recovery of the energy sector. I am ready to resign as soon as someone mentions the words "shady deals," and voices suspicions that I am syphoning the system. Yes, huge interests are at stake in the sector, and some key figures from it are stimulating and manipulating the anti-government protests, but we must end all this. These TV statements of businessmen and people from the caretaker government are indicative. To set on a new path depends from the President as well. I call on all parties, including the opposition GERB, to support the new Energy Bill. My government is the first one to lower the electric power prices," Stoynev concluded.

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Tags: electric power prices, Belene, Kozloduy, NPP, ESO, NEK, Electricity System Operator, National Electric Company, Economy and Energy Minister, Dragomir Stoynev, Gunther Oettinger, Third Energy Package, fine, European Commission, GERB

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