ECJ rules in favour of Bulgarian utilities in heating bills case

Written by on December 5, 2019 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on ECJ rules in favour of Bulgarian utilities in heating bills case

The Court of Justice of the European Union said on December 5 that Bulgarian legislation, which requires each owner of a property in a building in co-ownership to contribute to the cost of heating supplied to the common parts of that building, did not breach EU law.

The court’s ruling came after two separate cases were brought in front of it, concerning legal disputes between property owners and two of Bulgaria’s largest heating utilities, in capital city Sofia and Plovdiv.

Property owners argued that, while their property was supplied by the district heating network pursuant to a contract for supply agreed between the association of co-owners and the utilities, they did not individually consent to receiving district heating and did not use it in their apartments.

In its ruling, the ECJ said that the supply of heating to the internal installation and the common parts of a building in co-ownership, carried out following a decision adopted by the association of property owners of that building, was not a case of unsolicited supply.

As regards the billing of this heating supply, the court said that EU law gave member states “wide discretion” and the EU directives on consumer protection and unfair commercial practices did not “preclude a calculation of the heat emitted by the internal installation that is done proportionately to the heated volume of each apartment.”

The court’s ruling can be read in full on the Curia website.

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