The forthcoming changes in the Energy Act are a step ahead to the full liberalization of the electricity market in Bulgaria

07.03.2018

The Bulgarian National Committee to the WEC, with the support of the Energy Committee to the 44th National Assembly, organized a round table entitled: “The forthcoming changes in the Energy Act – a step towards the full liberalization of the electricity market in Bulgaria”. Among the participants in the event were the Chairman of the Parliamentary Energy Committee, Delyan Dobrev, the Minister responsible for Energy, Temenuzhka Petkova, the Chairman of EWRC, Ivan Ivanov, representatives of employers’ organizations, the Chairman of the “Electricity System Security Fund” Dian Chervenkondev, the Chairman of the Board of the Bulgarian Photovoltaic Association Meglena Rusenova, the Executive Director of NEK Petar Iliev, representatives of various companies from the energy sector and numerous energy experts.

In the beginning of the event, the Deputy Chairman of the Energy Committee and Chairman of the Executive Board of NCBWEC, Valentin Nikolov, underlined that the aim of the discussion was to outline all points of view to be considered in the forthcoming changes in the Energy Act.

In his speech, the Chairman of the Energy Committee, Delyan Dobrev, made it clear that the changes would bring out the producers with capacities above 4 MW at the power exchange. As regards the producers benefitting from the feed-in tariffs, it is foreseen that they would conclude contracts with the Electricity System Security Fund (ESSF). The latter would pay the difference between the preferential price guaranteed by the law and the price, expected to be achieved at the power exchange within the current year.

On the other hand, the proposed texts will oblige traders to provide to ESSF a deposit amounting to their one-month commitment to it. The Chairman of the Parliamentary Energy Committee explained that in this way the burden on electricity traders would be avoided. In conclusion, Dobrev added that these changes in the Energy Act would not affect the end price of electricity.

The Chairman of EWRC said that the forthcoming changes in the Energy Act were a step towards increasing the liquidity of the Bulgarian independent power exchange.

In his presentation, Mr. Ivanov pointed out that the increasing of energy quantities to be bargained at the power exchange would lead to a rise in the obligations of the Regulator. In addition he noted that it was of outmost importance for the liberalization process to protect the most vulnerable consumers.

The Minister responsible for energy, Temenuzhka Petkova, who also took part in the round table, shared that the full liberalization would create competition among the power producers and, in the same time, would give the opportunity to consumers to choose supplier by themselves. Mrs. Petkova added that the full liberalization could become effect within three to five years and the biggest challenge in this process would be the becoming of ESSF a party in the contracts with the producers using feed-in tariffs.

The Chairman of BICA, Vassil Velev, assured of the support of the employers’ organizations to the proposed changes. In his presentation, he stressed on the necessity to prevent the free market from eventual acts of abuse.

The Chairman of ESSF, Dian Chervenkondev, presented the Fund’s activities and financial status during the period 2015 – 2018. He made it clear that the Fund was financially stable. Mr. Chervenkondev saw as the major challenge to the forthcoming legislative changes, the short term for the Fund to become party in the contracts with the preferential producers.

The Chairman of the Bulgarian Photovoltaic Association, Meglena Russenova, pointed out that the changes in the Act should take into consideration the specificities of the renewable energy production with the aim to minimize the risks to the producers. She also appealed for aligning the changes with the Fourth Energy Package.