Bulgaria regulator approves 4.37% hike in electricity prices for household consumers

Bulgaria’s Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) said on June 30 that it approved an increase in electricity prices by an average of 4.37 per cent for household consumers.

The new price will apply for the next 12-month regulatory period that starts on July 1 and runs until June 30 2024, EWRC said in a statement.

This increase only applies to the regulated segment of the market. Companies buy electricity on the free market, paying significantly higher prices, but have also received state subsidies over the past year to compensate for spiking prices, which were financed by temporary windfall taxes imposed on energy firms.

EWRC’s ruling will result in consumers in western Bulgaria, including capital city Sofia, serviced by Elektrohold, paying 4.24 per cent more. Household consumers serviced by Energo-Pro in northern Bulgaria would see their bills go up by 5.43 per cent and customers of EVN in southern Bulgaria would pay 3.78 per cent more.

The regulator said that it initially planned an average price hike of 3.63 per cent, but had to revise the figure upward due to an Energy Ministry order to include 2.2GWh produced by the state-owned Maritsa Iztok 2 coal power plant into the electricity pool reserved for household consumers.

The order had been signed by outgoing caretaker Energy Minister Rossen Hristov shortly before leaving office earlier this month in order to “prevent the company from experiencing financial difficulties,” the regulator said.

EWRC said that it applied all regulatory levers to keep the price increase as low as possible, pointing out that it was close to a quarter of the average annual inflation over the previous year. The regulator cited EU statistics and said that electricity prices were “among the lowest” compared to other European countries.

In a separate decision, EWRC also set the central heating regulated prices for the next 12 months, approving very small increases, ranging from 0.05 per cent in Sofia to 0.48 per cent in Razgrad. In two cases, the regulator cut prices – by 0.06 per cent in Vratsa and 0.66 per cent in Pernik.

(Photo: greenhitma/sxc.hu)

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