Bulgaria PV angry at lock-out

Bulgaria’s PV association (BPVA) has criticised the state energy regulator SEWRC after it was excluded from proceedings seeking to revoke the licenses of the country’s three power distribution companies.

CEZ, the biggest Czech utility, EVN of Austria and Prague-based Energo-Pro have all been threatened with having their operating licenses withdrawn over a dispute concerning payments for renewable power production.

New evidence presented by the state-owned National Electricity Company (NEK) at a special hearing on the matter led the energy regulator to postpone until the end of April its final decision.

But the BPVA is furious after not being allowed in the meeting hall, despite claiming an interest in the matter.

“This is bad precedent for the opacity of the regulator,” said the BPVA.  “Over 90% of the producers of electricity from solar power plants have contracts with the three supplier companies, which automatically turns us into an interested party in these proceedings.”   

Meanwhile, the the European Commission has sent an open letter stating that “the Regulator must perform its task with complete independence from government and market interest,” confirmed Sabine Berger, a spokesman for energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger, chairman of the European Committee on Energy.

“The Commission will monitor this carefully and take appropriate measures if the Bulgarian government fails to preserve the independence of the Commission, or if the regulator failed in the performance of its obligations under the rules of the EU internal energy market.”

The next hearing for all concerned parties was scheduled for April 28.