Bulgarian regulator begins audit of electricity distribution firms
Bulgaria’s State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (SEWRC) said on January 6 that it started an audit of the three private electricity distribution companies and Sofia city hall-owned heating utility Toplofikatsia.
The regulator said that the audit had been prompted by “numerous complaints from individuals and organisations concerning irregularities on behalf of the distribution companies – CEZ, EVN and Energo-Pro.” The audit will take at least four months, but could be extended based on what the commission finds during the course of the investigation, the regulator said in a statement.
Once the audit is complete, “based on the severity of infractions found, SEWRC will take appropriate action,” the statement said.
The audit comes less than a week since the last electricity price cut ordered by the regulator, the third in the space of nine months. The cuts were opposed by the distribution companies, who argued that the reduction in the network loss amounts (which the companies are allowed to bill customers for, with the proviso that the revenue is invested in power grid maintenance and customer service) would make it difficult for the companies to improve the service.
Similarly, heavily-indebted Toplofikatsia Sofia heating utility has also been the target of numerous customer complaints over the years, over the quality of service and perceived abuses of its natural monopoly in the Bulgarian capital city.