Bulgaria utilities regulator cuts gas price, raises electricity prices

Bulgaria’s Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) said that electricity prices will rise by an average of 2.79 per cent, while the natural gas price will be cut by 6.05 per cent, triggering a 12.69 per cent reduction in central heating prices starting July 1.

The reduced gas price was the latest in a series of cuts decreed by the regulator as a result of the amended terms of the contract with Russia’s Gazprom, agreed in March. The price set by EWRC was 19.1 leva a MWh, excluding transportation costs, excise and value-added tax.

EWRC’s decision to raise electricity prices was unexpected, given that the regulator said last month that it was discussing a proposal to cut prices by an average of 0.55 per cent.

The regulator’s head, Ivan Ivanov, said that the increase was due in part to the upcoming changes to the regulated segment of the market – with non-household consumers due to switch to the free electricity market after October 1 – and also due to the inclusion of a large production quota for the state-owned coal-powered Maritza Iztok 2 power plant.

That increase, however, was still lower than annual inflation, which was “beneficial for consumers and the competitiveness of Bulgarian businesses,” Ivanov said in a statement.

EWRC’s ruling will result in consumers in western Bulgaria, including capital city Sofia, paying 2.72 per cent more, while those serviced by Energo-Pro in northern Bulgaria would see their bills go up by 1.05 per cent. Customers of EVN in southern Bulgaria would pay 4.12 per cent more.

(Ivan Ivanov screengrab via Bulgarian National Television)

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