The ombudsman requested an extraordinary inspection of "Sofia District Heating" because of the high heating bills

Energy / Bulgaria
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Photo: Press center of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria

The ombudsman Diana Kovacheva sent a recommendation to the acting Minister of Energy Rosen Hristov and the chairman of the Commission for Energy and Water Regulation Ivan Ivanov, in which she requested an extraordinary inspection of "Sofia District Heating" EAD because of the unreasonably high heating bills received by the capital city for estimated consumption during the month of April.

Citizens complain that the invoiced amounts for this month are higher than for the typical winter months of December 2022 and January 2023 and demand more effective control by the competent state institutions, in order to establish the reasons for the formation of the unexpectedly high bills, and in case errors or violations are detected - to correct them.

"I take into account the duration of the provision of the heat supply service in the city of Sofia in April 2023, as well as the significantly higher prices of heat energy for household customers in the capital compared to the same period in 2022. At the same time, I draw attention to that consumers do not have the opportunity to check for themselves whether the heating company fulfills all its obligations in relation to the correct determination of thermohydraulic modes to achieve minimum costs in the production and transfer of thermal energy to building installations, as well as regarding temperature modes, technical condition, setting and the management of the subscriber stations that provide the central heat supply to the respective buildings - condominiums," the ombudsman wrote.

Prof. Kovacheva draws attention to the fact that "Sofia District Heating" published on its website on May 9, 2023, data on the amount of heat energy produced and supplied for the month of April 2023, which show that the amount of heat energy produced for the month of April this year, in the amount of 353,370 MWh, is the lowest amount since the beginning of the year so far. For comparison, the data for the month of January 2023 show 551,838 MWh produced, for the month of February 2023 - 528,684 MWh, for the month of March - 440,128 MWh. The ombudsman points out that it is quite understandable that all household customers of the capital's heating system expect the estimated bills for April to be the lowest since the beginning of the year.

"I consider it important to note the statutory requirement to maintain compliance between the supplied amounts of heat energy and the needs for heat energy in the buildings - Art. 12 of Ordinance No. E-RD-04-1/12.03.2020 on heat supply and Art. 5 of the General Terms and Conditions for the sale of heat energy for household needs by "Sofia District Heating" EAD to customers in the city of Sofia. In support of these expectations are the data published by "Sofia District Heating" EAD for the average monthly temperature of the atmospheric air, as follows: for the month of January 2023 +3.9°C; for February 2023 +3.2°C; for the month of March 2023 +7.1°C; for the month of April 2023 +9.0°C", argued the public defender, insisting on verification.



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