Bulgaria’s utilities regulator announces gas, electricity and heating price hikes

Bulgaria’s Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) has approved price hikes for gas, electricity and central heating prices, going into effect on July 1 2018.

Gas prices for the third quarter of the year would go up by 10.8 per cent, short of the 18 per cent hike asked for by the state-owned gas company Bulgargaz, and will be 400.95 leva for 1000 cubic metres (about 205 euro).

Bulgaria’s gas market did not exhibit the necessary pre-requisites for a competitive environment, which is why the regulator sets quarterly prices, EWRC said in a statement. To that end, it employs the methodology set in Bulgargaz’ contract with Russia’s Gazprom, which takes into account oil price movements over the previous nine months and changes to the US dollar exchange rate.

End-consumers who use gas will see their bills go up by about 6.5 per cent, Bulgarian National Television (BNT) reported.

As a result of the gas price hike, central heating prices will also increase, by an average of 7.33 per cent, but there was a large gap between different cities – from only 0.94 per cent increase in Bulgaria’s second-largest city of Plovdiv, to 17.12 per cent in the city of Bourgas on the Black Sea coast.

Prices in the capital city of Sofia for the next heating season would be 7.46 per cent higher, while residents of Varna will pay 4.89 per cent more for central heating.

Speaking to BNT, EWRC chairperson Ivan Ivanov answered criticism that the heating price hike was too high saying that it was entirely dependent on the price of gas, a natural resource that Bulgaria largely imports and the price of which depends on global markets.

Electricity prices went up the least in the July 1 hike, rising by an average of 2.03 per cent, the regulator said. Residents of western Bulgaria, serviced by CEZ, would see the lowest increase of 1.75 per cent and customers in southern Bulgaria, serviced by EVN, would pay 1.82 per cent more, with residents of northern Bulgaria, where the distributor is Energo Pro, set to pay 2.78 per cent more.

(Photo: Jayesh Nair)



The Sofia Globe staff

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