"So far, there is no market dynamics that requires an increase in the price of electricity, especially for households." This was stated to Nova TV by the Minister of Energy Alexander Nikolov. "The prices for it are determined by the EWRC. At the moment, it would not be correct and logical to impose any decision on them as an independent regulator", he added.
He also commented on the high prices of natural gas in the markets during the winter. "Each account is formed by the price and quantity of goods consumed. The reason we tried to keep natural gas prices stable until the end of March was that the bills were actually higher by then. Depending on the temperatures in April, we will have the corresponding bills at the end of the month. A real increase will be seen by the beginning of May", Nikolov thinks.
According to him, we are actively working with all district heating companies so that in the first suitable moment, when the temperatures allow, the heat supply will be limited. "The price of natural gas in April 2021 was significantly lower than in April 2022. The difference may exceed 40%," he said.
Asked about Gazprom's request to pay for gas in rubles and whether we know exactly how this will happen, the Minister of Energy commented: "Yes, there is a described mechanism. Whether this will happen or not is subject to several decisions - first to the EC, and the specific mechanism should be discussed at the Council of Ministers. It remains to be seen what the effect will be for Bulgaria if a mechanism is adopted or rejected. "
"There are corporate structures in Europe that trade in natural gas, as well as neighboring countries that also have a similar request. Bulgaria could be placed in a tough non-competitive environment if other legal or corporate entities or countries that have a direct contract with Gazprom decide to implement this mechanism and accordingly continue to receive natural gas at a better price. All these variables must be taken into account ", Nikolov commented.
According to him, the most important thing in the coming months is to plan the upcoming heating season.
"We are discussing all possible options with the energy ministers around Bulgaria and we will come up with a common decision on whether and how such a mechanism should happen. Their opinion is like ours - to keep the quantities needed by society and not put the next season at risk. It is also necessary to envisage to what extent the price structure will be acceptable or how this should be compensated if there is a change ", the Minister of Energy added.
Asked if there is a possibility to refuse to pay in rubles and not receive gas because it is not profitable for us under the given conditions, he answered: "There is a possibility. However, what needs to be said in plain text is that all alternative solutions will come at a higher price.”