Power Price Hike as of October is Unavoidable – Bulgaria’s Energy Minister

Energy | September 26, 2014, Friday // 16:42|  views

Bulgaria's caretaker Economy and Energy Minister Vasil Shtonov, photo by BGNES

Bulgaria’s caretaker Minister of Economy and Energy Vasil Shtonov has argued that the power price hike by 10% as of October 1 is an unavoidable step for the stabilization of the market.

Speaking Friday at an extraordinary briefing, Shtonov informed that the National Electric Company (NEK) had run up a deficit of around BGN 3 B, with BGN 1.5 B of the total generated by projects such as the Tsankov Kamak Hydroelectric Power Plant and the Belene nuclear power plant, and the remainder of the sum attributable to an imbalance.

Shtonov suggested that the increase in electricity prices was part of a plan to stabilize NEK, adding that the process was expected to take 3-5 years.

“We are aware of the fact that the purchasing power of Bulgarians is limited but this step is necessary in order to avoid turbulence in the economy,” he stated, as cited by the BGNES news agency.

He said that the stabilization of the sector involved renegotiating long-term contracts for purchasing electricity at preferential prices with the US-owned thermal power plants AES-3C Maritza East 1 EOOD and Contur Global Maritsa Iztok-3 and renewable energy producers.

Shtonov explained that the expensive energy produced by combined-cycle thermal power plants would be primarily used for their own needs and only the remainder would be purchased.

Bulgaria’s caretaker Energy Minister explained that these measures would be accompanied by a gradual increase in electricity prices.

He underscored that 95% of the experts at the Energy Board approved of the power price hike, adding that the deficit of NEK would increase by almost BGN 1 B a year unless steps were taken to rein it in.

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Tags: Vasil Shtonov, caretaker Economy and Energy Minister, power prices, electricity prices, National Electric Company, NEK, renewable energy


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