The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Bulgaria and Confindustria Bulgaria have called on the Bulgarian Government to implement reforms that would improve the financial health of the country’s energy sector.
In a joint position paper, the two chambers of commerce said that “the energy system has been a cause of significant concern during the past few years and failure to address major ‘shortcomings’ is having substantial negative impacts on the economy – both for producers and for residential and corporate consumers, while also harming Bulgaria’s investment climate.”
The state-owned electricity utility NEK was affected the worst by the misbalances in the energy sector, but its financial crisis cannot be solved by applying ad hoc, isolated measures, such as the grid access fees imposed on renewable energy producers last year, or the fee on the renewable energy feed-in tariff, approved by Parliament last week, the chambers said.
Bulgaria’s efforts to meet EU targets on renewable energy generation have led, in recent years, to a quick expansion of the sector, swelling electricity supply well beyond domestic demand (to the extent that it strained the power grid’s ability to function) and also straining the finances of NEK (with most of the government efforts to redress the situation focusing on pushing the financial burden off NEK onto the private sector).
The two chambers said that both short- and long-term reforms should be based on “transparency, predictability, and sustainability and more specifically should aim to stabilize and strengthen the regulatory environment and alleviate sector liquidity challenges.”
The full list of the AmCham and Confindustria position paper can be seen here.