Bulgarian Watchdog Chair, Caretaker Deputy PM Vow No Power Price Hike in January

Business | October 16, 2014, Thursday // 11:19|  views

Photo by BGNES

Svetla Todorova, Chair of Bulgaria’s State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (DKEVR), has suggested that power rates should not increase further as of January 1.

“Until the state takes steps to alleviate the impact of power prices, I think that the rates should not increase,” Todorova stated in an interview for 24 Hours daily.

Asked why the power price hike had been introduced in October, she said that the step had been imperative and a potential postponement from October to November was a matter of political decision.

She said that a majority of DKEVR members had agreed that the situation called for swift measures.

Todorova claimed that the power generators could be imposed a fee which would go to the fund for helping low-income people pay their electricity bills, adding that end-consumers would have to shoulder a part of the burden.

Meanwhile, Ekaterina Zaharieva, caretaker Deputy Prime Minister, dismissed speculation of a new power price spike as of January 1.

Zaharieva informed Thursday that neither the energy watchdog nor the power distributors had requested such a measure.

However, caretaker Economy and Energy Minister Vasil Shtonov argued recently that the 10% power price hike as of October 1 had been part of a plan envisaging gradual increases in power rates in order to fill the hole in the energy sector.

Zaharieva assured journalists that the Bulgaria’s newly established Energy Board would receive a bill envisaging changes to the makeup of DKEVR by Friday, most notably the appointment of its members by Parliament and the establishment of two departments, one of them specializing in water regulation and the other one in energy regulation.

Against the backdrop of ongoing coalition talks of center-right party GERB and the other parties, she stressed the importance of achieving stability in order to improve the investment climate.

To illustrate her point, Zaharieva said that foreign direct investments in Bulgaria had dropped by 36% in the first six months of 2014.

She expressed hopes that the EU funds freeze under the operational programs “Environment” and “Regional Development” would be lifted by the end of the month.

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Tags: power prices, State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation, DKEVR, Ekaterina Zaharieva, caretaker government, coalition government


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