Parliament Refuses to Dismiss Energy Regulator Chief

Source: БТА

Parliament on Thursday voted down 125-63 a motion by the opposition BSP for Bulgaria to terminate early the tenure of Ivan Ivanov, chief of the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission. There were three abstentions.

MPs debated for two and a half hours the motion which was supported by the socialists only.

BSP demanded Ivanov's dismissal over a statement that a newly adopted provision in the Energy Act is a blanket provision, subsequently refusing to implement the law and pronounce on the sale of the Bulgarian assets of energy distributor CEZ. The Left also urged the prosecution to probe Ivanov.

BSP said that the executive and the regulator were reluctant to enforce the law because they wanted to cover the CEZ deal behind which there were private interests, backed by the government of Boyko Borissov.

GERB accused BSP of exerting political pressure on the energy regulator through 200,000 signatures collected in a sign-in campaign over the course of two months across the country. The Bulgarian Socialist Party submitted the 200,000 signatures to the regulator for reversal of the sale of CEZ' Bulgarian assets to Inercom.

GERB backed Ivanov's statement that changes to the Energy Act are not workable without specific criteria.

The power-sharing United Patriots said that the dismissal of the regulator chief won't change the policy of the regulator which is a collective body and it will continue to cater to the interests of energy monopolies which are primarily foreign.

The Movement for Rights and Freedoms said that the law cannot be enforced without criteria and that the call for Ivanov's dismissal is politically motivated. The Movement said that Ivanov was the weakest link in the chain that the BSP could attack.

Delyan Dobrev MP of GERB said that Thursday's motion for dismissal of Ivanov continues the pressure with the signatures submitted to the regulator.

EWRC is an entirely independent body and this was stated by the majority in parliament and in an express letter by the European Commission, said Ivanov in the halls of Parliament. He added that this had been the only attempt by a political force to pressure the regulator.

He recalled the support he received from the Bulgarian business which donТt want higher prices of electricity, hearing and natural gas and the energy companies which want higher prices. On Wednesday employer organizations and energy operators voiced support for Ivanov.

The EWRC chief said that the fact that the regulator received support from both sides means that it manages to strike balance in the interest of the public first and foremost.

Source: BTA

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