Bulgarian MPs to Vote on Splitting Energy Watchdog into 2 Subsections

Energy | January 14, 2015, Wednesday // 10:37|  views

Svetla Todorova (R-2), who was appointed by the interim government (August-November 2014), says the new bill will not improve the regulator's efficiency. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's energy regulator DKEVR could be divided into two subcommittees, one on energy and one on water, under a new bill approved by a Parliament Committee on Tuesday.

The new draft legislation could also result in changes to how its members are being appointed. Currently they are picked by the government, but the main ruling party, conservative GERB, had been planning for some time to redirect this function to MPs.

Sessions of its members held weekly, usually behind closed doors, will become entirely open to public if the bill is passed. A first reading at the plenary hall is expected on Thursday.

Thus the State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (DKEVR) would be government more efficiently, GERB lawmakers quoted by various Bulgarian media outlets believe.

DKEVR's Chair Svetla Todorova, however, argues the move will not help improve governance at the regulator, with public attendance bringing additional hardship to decision-making.

Previously, DKEVR has been at the center of various scandals involving the price of electricity and management of Bulgaria's energy mix which tends to create huge imbalances and is pointed as one of the main reasons for the state utility National Electricity Company (NEK)'s debts worth hundreds of millions of BGN.

In February 2013, protests at DKEVR's decision to hike energy prices, which pushed up electricity bills, led to the resignation of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov's previous cabinet.

Since then accusations have reemerged that DKEVR is constantly under pressure from the executive to change the price of energy or take action with regard to certain energy producers.

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Tags: DKEVR, Svetla Todorova, GERB, Boyko Borisov


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