The moratorium on electricity, heating and water prices is illegal, and their sharp rise could have been prevented if the government temporarily reduced energy VAT by up to 10%. This was explained to BNT by the chairman of the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission Ivan Ivanov. According to him, if there was a temporary reduction in VAT in the energy sector, electricity would have risen by 1% instead of 11%, and heating - by 3% instead of 13 percent. These are the average values for the country, said Ivanov, whose term expired more than a year ago.
However, he abides by the letter of the law and remains in office until the National Assembly elects another to chair the EWRC. A few days ago, GERB MP Delyan Dobrev told the media that the name of Venko Sabrutev, MP from "We continue the change" and son of the regional governor of Smolyan, is heard for the post of EWRC chairman in parliament. "And I strongly hope that they do not think that they will put a political appointment in the EWRC so that they can manage it the way they want," Dobrev said. Ivanov himself declined to comment on the names of the new chairman of the energy regulator.
Sharp rise in household prices after the moratorium?
Now, with the artificial retention of prices, Assoc. Prof. Ivanov expects their sharp rise after the moratorium expires. According to him, consumers are currently in an unequal situation, because for people who heat with gas or wood, prices continue to rise. Only the prices of electricity and district heating are "frozen". The Chairman of the EWRC has referred to the European Commission and expects a reaction on the moratorium. He rejected accusations that there had been political motives in raising prices in recent months.
The moratorium was adopted without any analysis, spontaneously, the results of which will be seen in the coming months. This administrative retention of prices will also have to be taken into account, Ivanov was categorical.
"In all its actions during the years I have been in charge, the EWRC has defended the public interest - the commission to be an arbitrator and to take into account the interests of both producers and consumers and traders - so that consumers can pay their bills and producers to get enough to be stimulated to work." said Ivanov.
He added that if the EWRC had not used its regulatory mechanisms, electricity in December would have risen by 64% instead of 11% and heating by 50% instead of 13%.
Ivan Ivanov called for an urgent solution to the problem situation in which the district heating companies and the water supply and sewerage companies are currently. They buy expensive electricity, but cannot invoice it at real prices through the heating and water bills due to the moratorium. This can lead to bankruptcies in the water sector. For the district heating sector, Ivanov expects the state to intervene and support district heating.
For the rise in price of natural gas
Ivanov added that the EWRC does not determine the price of gas, but only approves it at the suggestion of Bulgargaz, checking whether the proposal complies with the contracts with foreign gas suppliers. According to him, the price of natural gas will decrease significantly if Bulgaria manages to negotiate larger quantities of Azeri gas. Deliveries can be made via the Trans-Balkan Gas Pipeline and the reverse link between the Tower and Sidirokastro. At the moment, this pipeline is not used, Ivanov commented to the National Television.
According to the EWRC chairman, the current forecasts indicate that the price of natural gas may decrease in April at the earliest. However, it is still too early to say whether this will be possible.