Stanislav Todorov: If businesses have the opportunity to buy electricity under long-term contracts, it will be easier to go through crises

Gas has risen in price so much since April 1 due to the war in Ukraine, the payment in rubles and the steps taken by Germany and Austria to refuse Russian supplies, said the EWRC chairman

Energy / Bulgaria
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Source: BNT / Stopkader

After the fall of the moratorium on the prices of electricity, heating and water, the analyzes of the energy regulator show that until July 1 there will be no need to increase the price of electricity for household subscribers. This was stated in the program of BNT "Speak Now" by the Chairman of the EWRC Stanislav Todorov. According to him, after the first half of the year the prices will change and it is not clear how much. However, Todorov was adamant that there would be no shock price increase.

"Bulgaria is good because it is in a unique position and produces almost no electricity from gas. In Europe, electricity has risen by about 50% on average for household consumers, only in Bulgaria and Hungary this is not the case. We have levers for regulation and I am optimistic about what will happen to prices in July 2022. We will certainly not see what is happening now with gas, "said the EWRC chairman.

Todorov added that he is optimistic that Bulgaria will go through the energy crisis as a whole unaffected, but that this will require major changes. Most importantly, giving businesses the opportunity to buy electricity through long-term contracts, similar to gas supply contracts.

Todorov reminded that the government has already requested such a change, and if a decision is made, the EWRC is ready to make the necessary changes in the regulations within two weeks.

Todorov explained the sharp rise in gas prices with the war in Ukraine and the fact that the main participant in the conflict supplies about 75% of gas to Bulgaria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to pay for blue fuel in rubles, and the fact that Germany and Austria have announced a "first tier" of their emergency plans to cut off gas supplies, have hit markets just before the EWRC approved the price of gas. for April. That is how the price has risen, "Todorov said. According to him, however, this is a temporary phenomenon and if there is no new escalation of the situation, prices will calm down.

"Europe has not experienced such a crisis, both in energy and security, in the last 50 years. We receive about 30% of our gas from Azerbaijan. What we can do is complete the construction of the gas connection with Greece, which has capacity to absorb all consumption ", pointed out Stanislav Todorov.

According to him, even with the suspension of supplies from Russia now, household subscribers would not feel the difference, as the heating season ends. However, such a scenario would affect business. In that case, he will be able to rely on a certain amount of Azeri gas per day, as well as the stocks in the Chiren storage.

"The regulator can make sure that the replacement of supplies from other sources is done. There will be disruptions, but it is a fact that Bulgaria has already done what is necessary to have diversification," Todorov said. He expressed confidence that the Greek connection will be ready by July 1, and our country will be able to receive the entire amount of blue fuel needed for its consumption through the new pipeline.

The price of heating for the new heating season will become clear on July 1. Todorov explained that in different cities the possible change in the price will be different depending on the local district heating and whether they use gas.

Regarding District Heating Sofia, Todorov pointed out that, unlike all other district heating companies, it is at a loss, regardless of the price of gas. According to him, this is due to poor governance and political interference.

In Sofia and Plovdiv, heating is at the same price, but Plovdiv district heating is not at a loss and has no obligations, unlike Sofia District Heating, he said - appointment of independent directors or privatization.

This year, the EWRC will approve new water prices depending on the business plans submitted by the respective water companies. In this regard, Todorov refused to commit to specific values, but said that the biggest challenge for companies is the rise in electricity prices.

According to him, the best way for each of us to participate in the transition to green energy is to encourage the installation of solar panels among households. To this end, the regulator has taken action to remove administrative barriers to this.

"In the coming months, EWRC will enable every household to participate in the transition to green energy by installing a solar panel on the roof. Currently, this requires many opinions and permits, and everyone who wants to make energy for their own needs, to be able to do it without obstacles”, said Todorov.

He calculated that currently the installation of a solar roof covering the average consumption of a household costs between BGN 10,000 and BGN 20,000. This investment covers consumption for 10-20 years, after which energy becomes free. The Recovery and Development Plan has the opportunity to cover 70% of these costs.

"I am sure that once we remove the administrative barriers and the people, seeing that their neighbor is doing it, they will benefit. EWRC can unite the efforts of all institutions, because we are aware of people's problems as a result of complaints coming. "We have submitted an opinion and a legislative decision is forthcoming in less than a month," Todorov added.

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