Bulgaria’s Parliament voted late on February 9 to elect Stanislav Todorov as the head of the Electricity and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC), completing the overhaul of the utilities regulator membership that began with legislative changes last month, which reduced the number of commissioners.
Parliament approved the appointment of Todorov as head of EWRC and Blagoi Goloubarev as commission member to replace Ivan Ivanov and Evgenia Haritonova, respectively, after a lengthy debate that saw heated exchanges between government and opposition MPs.
The largest opposition party, GERB, argued that Todorov did not meet the legal requirements for the position, given that his nomination was made before Parliament passed the amendments that reduced the previous experience in the energy sector requirement.
Todorov, who was appointed deputy energy minister in the Kiril Petkov government that took office in December, has spent nine years in managerial positions at the AES Maritsa Iztok I coal power plant.
Ivanov and Haritonova had been appointed in 2015 and served their five-year terms in full, but remained in office until Parliament could appoint their successors.
The recent amendments to the Energy Act cut the number of EWRC members from nine to five, resulting in four commissioners having their terms cut short.
Opposition parties accused the ruling coalition of pushing the amendments through in order to “take control” of the regulator by pushing out the commissioners appointed when GERB was in government.
EWRC drew the ire of the parliamentary majority in December when it announced plans for sharp electricity and central heating prices on the same day that the Petkov cabinet was sworn in, sparking accusations that it pursued a political agenda aimed against the new government.
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