Bulgaria’s State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (SEWRC) said on June 30 that it approved higher prices for end-consumers starting July 1, despite previously announcing plans to carry out a small price cut.
This is the first price hike ordered by the regulator since the 13 per cent increase approved in June 2012. Last year, the regulator cut prices on three occasions, wiping out most of the earlier price increase, but those moves led to state electricity utility NEK amassing large debts that now had to be compensated, SEWRC head Boyan Boev said last week.
Prior to Boev’s announcement, the regulator intended to cut prices an average of 0.6 per cent.
On June 30, SEWRC said that it approved price increases across the board – 2.8 per cent for day-time tariffs and 2.2 per cent at night for CEZ, which serves customers in western Bulgaria, including capital city Sofia; 2.5 per cent during the day and one per cent at night for Energo-Pro, which serves customers in northern and north-eastern Bulgaria; 0.6 per cent during the day and 0.2 per cent at night for EVN, which serves customers in southern and south-eastern Bulgaria.
SEWRC said that the partial liberalisation of the electricity market, the reduced electricity consumption and the high ratio of electricity bought under long-term contracts led to an “excess of electricity delivered at prices not in line with market valuation.” Should this state of affairs continue, this could reflect on prices for both household and industrial consumers, the regulator said.
SEWRC also approved price hikes for heating utilities, which will rise by an average of 2.6 per cent nationwide. In Sofia, heating prices next winter will be 5.9 per cent higher, while in Varna prices will rise by 5.5 per cent and in Plovdiv – by 5.1 per cent.
The regulator also ordered a 1.8 per cent cut in gas prices, which state gas utility Bulgargaz will sell for 601.69 leva (307.64 euro) a 1000 cubic metres starting July 1. Previously, SEWRC announced plans to cut the gas price by about 2.5 per cent.