Bulgaria's CPC Accuses EVN, CEZ, Energo-PRO of Dominant Position

Energy | May 13, 2014, Tuesday // 12:03|  views

CPC's statement comes amid tensions over a prospective decision of Bulgaria's energy watchdog DKEVR (on the photo) whether to suspend licenses of the EDCs to operate in the country. Photo by BGNES

The Competition Protection Commission (CPC) has accused the three electricity distribution companies (EPDs) operating in Bulgaria of abuse of dominant position.

CPS's motives to take the step were that the power distributors set and impose ungrounded prices for access to their low-voltage electricity transmission lines, Dariknews.bg has reported.

"Low-voltage" transmission lines comprise the vast part of general-purpose electric supply.

Tuesday's proceeding launched by the Bulgarian monopoly watchdog is focused on the the terms under which the EDCs concede the right to build cable networks for television, internet and telephony services. The Commission says this hinders competition by breaking its rules.

The grid operators have a 30-day deadline to present objections against the statement, which cannot be appealed.

They currently own Bulgaria's electricity distribution grid and have the right to put parts of it to lease. As there is no economically viable alternative to the grid on Bulgarian soil, CPS officials believe the distributors are in a dominant position.

CPS also states that the price they set out for taking grid sections on lease does not comply with "objective" factors which have an influence on its amount. It says the distributors include in it additional costs which artificially increase the sum a company has to pay to use the grid.

Bulgarian competition authority's decision is the latest move in a recent dispute between national (though described as politically independent) regulators and the EDCs, with the latter being threatened by energy watchdog DKEVR to be stripped of their licenses to operate in Bulgaria over claims of nearly BGN 350 M (EUR 175 M) of debts to the National Electricity Company.

On May 12, DKEVR was to decide whether to scrap the permits of Czech-based CEZ and Energo-PRO and Austrian-based EVN, but announced it would have its last word "over the next few days".

Meanwhile experts and EDC representatives are to meet aides to EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger to discuss a proposal to establish an "energy board" in Bulgaria made on Monday in order to deal with an ongoing crisis in Bulgaria's energy sector.

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Tags: Energo-Pro, CEZ, EVN, grid operators, power distributors, Oettinger, permits, licenses, EDCs. DKEVR, CPC, EDCs


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