Future EWRC chiefs promise protection to end customers and commit to new pricing

Energy / Bulgaria
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Analysis of the electricity and gas markets, of the price components, modernization of the pricing methodologies with focus on the end customers and strengthening of the role of the energy regulator. Thus, the intentions of the proposal for chairman and new member of the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) Blagoy Golubarev and Stanislav Todorov can be outlined in general. On Wednesday, the two presented their vision to the Energy Committee of the National Assembly.

The activities of the EWRC are diverse, regulated by the Energy Act, but there are several problems that need to be started immediately, said Blagoy Golubarev at the presentation of his concept. He singled out REMIT as the most important. In his analysis on this topic, he pointed out that 40 signals have been submitted so far, but so far nothing has been done. "Urgent measures must be taken to work on this regulation," Golubarev said. As he said, the EWRC should be a leading figure, but what is happening is that the leaders are the IBEX and ESO.

In his reading on market mergers and the energy futures market, Golubarev focused on the opportunities for hedging risks and most levers of influence, which he said have been hampered by the suspension of the IBEX trading screen (the Continuous Trading screen), with extended suspension until July 1, 2022 b.r.). Golubarev's opinion is that the EWRC can encourage companies to take advantage of futures. Next, he put the strengthening of control over company licenses, inspections, but not only on documents and formally. Golubarev also shared a new vision for the role of TED, or more precisely until their removal from the current composition of the companies, and by lot to choose those TED to serve companies that have not found a supplier.

The vision of the proposed head of the regulator Stanislav Todorov was a bit more selected and focused on the future. He started the presentation of the concept with a review of the current regulatory framework, noting that nowhere in Europe is there a single regulation in so many areas - water, natural gas, electricity and heat. In general, Todorov described the practices in the electricity, gas and water sectors as good and added that it is quite natural that the existing crisis cannot be covered by an Ordinance. However, according to him, there is something to be done so that the regulator acts as a balancer on behalf of end users. Todorov reminded that the gas sector, especially in the field of trade, has gone through the strongest resistance, that liberalization is in its infancy, that we have a gas exchange, but only two years ago, and Bulgargaz and Bulgartransgaz continue to be monopolists. "Bulgargaz should be helped to recognize the functions of a public supplier and a trader," he said, adding that this hybrid situation should be viewed critically. Regarding the energy market, Todorov was adamant that it is very well developed, both wholesale and retail. And with one feature that 80% of this market is from state-owned companies, which is a serious concentration, and the regulator must make this market more transparent.

The role of the regulator is not so much as that of licensed companies, but as an engine of reforms. The green deal and decarbonisation are coming, Todorov said at the same time. Moreover, when asked by MP Ramadan Atalay if he thought he would feel like an independent regulator, he was adamant that "the only interests I will defend will be the end users." In this regard, he also said that the role of the regulator is to enable market participants to operate at their best capacity.

However, first an analysis of the price components must be made, Todorov believes, and therefore, according to him, the EWRC experts will be required to make a new analysis to change the price components. Earlier, during the hearing by MPs and journalists, Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov said that changes are planned in gas pricing, so that cheap supplies go to the household and expensive - to business.

Surprisingly, the future head of regulation described the moratorium on electricity, heating and water prices as a good thing, adding that everyone hopes that prices in Europe will have a short-term effect and should not be allowed to go to end users. Todorov surprised with his vision for investments. According to him, the EWRC has so far protected consumers as much as possible at the expense of infrastructure investments, while the intention is to approve in the future all investments that will lead to a reduction in consumer prices in the long run, such as reducing losses and increasing network connectivity.

The new future heads of the EWRC are proposals of the parties "We continue the change" and "There is such a people".

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