Bulgaria’s utilities regulator has approved an increase in gas prices in the country by 13.7 per cent for the month of May, setting the new price at 162.17 leva a MWh, excluding transportation costs, excise and value-added tax.
The Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) reached the decision at a meeting that ended late on May 13, following two weeks of uncertainty caused by Russia’s announcement it was cutting off gas deliveries to Bulgaria.
This prompted a scramble by Bulgarian officials to secure alternative supply sources, given that reserves at the country’s Chiren natural gas storage facility were low after the winter season.
In recent days, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov has said that liquefied natural gas deliveries from the US and increased supplies of Azeri gas, both using the soon-to-be-completed gas interconnector with Greece, would compensate for the shortfall caused by Russia’s decision to cut off gas deliveries.
However, the government’s efforts also delayed the regulator’s decision on prices for the month of May, prompting criticism and threats of protests from employer groups if the regulator delayed its decision further. The new price will apply retroactively to cover the period since May 1.
In a statement, EWRC said that the price increase was expected to have “minimum impact” on the bills of household consumers, given that the winter heating season was over.
The regulator also said that preliminary estimates showed that the price in June would go down to about 140 leva a MWh, comparable to the regulator-set price in April, which was 142.59 leva a MWh.
The regulator re-iterated that despite the sudden halt in Russian deliveries, there would be no rationing of natural gas to consumers.
(Photo: Marco Caliulo/sxc.hu)
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