Four nationally representative employer organizations said Friday that Bulgartransgaz used a misleading excuse for its plan to increase the rates for transmission of natural gas, claiming that this is called for by some EU requirements. In a letter to the energy regulator, the Association of Industrial Capital in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Industrial Association, the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria say that no European document requires an increase of the transmission rates.
What there is, is a promise by Bulgaria to the EU to introduce the entry-exit model, the employer organizations say.
They are baffled why this model was not introduced back in 2011.
They point out that the higher prices are put forward without the required impact assessment. "In this way an opportunity is wasted to analyze the impact on the energy sector and the economy as a whole," the message says.
"We are not against the entry-exit mode but we are against the constant increase of the rates for transmission of gas to the Bulgarian industrial consumers without valid economic justification," the position says.
The employer organizations point out that the monopolist position has allowed Bulgartransgaz to form in the 2007-2016 period an average annual operating profit of some 150 million leva. "In 2016 alone the operating profit was 155 leva and the net profit 73 million leva! What is more, this was possible with underutilized capacity of the transmission network," the employer organizations say.
For the same period, Bulgartransgaz has been able to revaluate its assets and increase their value over 3 times with the tacit consent of the energy regulator.
The employer organizations propose that all laws and bylaws such as ordinances, instructions and others, which bring about a cumulative increase of the prices of natural gas, be postponed until an impact assessment is prepared and adequate measures are taken to protect the national economy.