The composition of the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) should be reduced from nine to five members, the parliament voted in the first reading today. This happened with changes in the Energy Law, introduced by deputies from the ruling coalition. "For" were 122 deputies, "against" - nine MPs.
Prior to the vote, the quorum in the hall was checked at the request of the MRF. The opposition, represented by GERB, opposed the idea, with the majority of the party leaving the hall during the voting.
The changes are already a fact and envisage the reduction of the number in the "Energy" staff from four to two, as well as the removal of the requirement for one member of the commission with legal experience and one member with experience in the field of economics. The proposed change optimizes the number of EWRC members as an independent collegial body, the petitioners' reasons say. According to them, significant financial savings will be realized in this way.
The project provides broader definitions of the legal terms "experience in the field of energy" and "experience in the field of water supply and sanitation". The deputies decided that the length of service in bodies of the European Union, as well as for traders with a similar subject of activity, but registered and / or licensed in the territory of another Member State, should be recognized as such. Experience in finance, accounting, trading in financial instruments or banking related to the energy sector will also be recognized.
At the very beginning of the debates, GERB-UDF disputed the right to include the bill in today's agenda, because the deadlines set in the Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly have been violated. There were no reports from a public discussion.
The main motive for the bill - significant financial savings - is not protected by figures, said Iskra Mihaylova of the Vazrazhdane PG, saying the parliamentary group would not support it. The bill of the group on the same topic is not considered in the hall, added her colleague Tsoncho Ganev. He disputed the motives for the changes, how much savings you will make by reducing the members of the EWRC and how much money you will spend on the creation of a new state administration in our country.
The chairman of the energy commission, Radoslav Ribarski, explained that the Vazrazhdane bill had not been well drafted.
If we build this commission as it is in other European countries, it will become a well-functioning body, and the trust in it will increase, said Ramadan Atalay / MRF /. According to him, five people cannot exercise control, to check the plans offered by the three ERPs, district heating, water companies. EWRC follows rules and can be said to be the most independent and professional commission in the last five years, the MP said. According to him, the chairman of the EWRC Ivan Ivanov should be sent with honors. At the same time, Atalay rebuked the DSB for withdrawing from their man in it. Do not occupy all the power, do not touch the independent commission, called the ruling MRF representative. I don't know why Mr. Kiril Petkov wants all the protesters to appear in front of his office, he asked.
Today's decision will not improve the situation on the energy market, said Radomir Cholakov / GERB-UDF /. The parliamentary group also defended the professionalism of the EWRC chairman and accused the government of fighting corruption only in declarations. With this bill you adjust the criteria to suit the candidates you already have, on the other hand you take full control of the commission, Delyan Dobrev joined the debate. According to him, he made a reasonable assumption that the new chairman of the EWRC will be a member of the Supervisory Board or chairman of the BDB, and an energy trader who worked under the control of the EWRC and received his license will be nominated as an energy expert, which puts him in a conflict of interest.
We have proposed Ivan Ivanov as chairman of the regulator, the fact that in seven years this is how he is talked about, so there is no need for comment - this is "Democratic Bulgarians", said Georgi Ganev.
We do not trust the EWRC, especially if GERB and MRF defend its independence, commented Nikolay Angov from "We continue the Change".
Last year, Sofiyska Voda distributed dividends of about BGN 37 million after the EWRC allowed the losses to be calculated in the price of water, said Emil Georgiev from the BSP for Bulgaria.
Debates on the election of a new chairman and member of the EWRC also began in the parliamentary hall. The name of the former caretaker energy minister Vasil Shtonov was mentioned by the deputies as a person associated with a new chairman of the energy regulator.