Bulgaria Considers Revoking CEZ Licence amid Mass Protests against Electricity Bills

Bulgaria Considers Revoking CEZ Licence amid Mass Protests against Electricity Bills

Bulgaria's energy regulator is considering revoking the licence of electricity distribution company CEZ as mass protests against high electricity bills continue for a second week.

Meeting on Sunday, the State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission discussed whether the violations established by the public finance inspection agency during a check at CEZ last week could serve as grounds to revoke the company's licence, the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) reported, quoting  energy minister Delyan Dobrev. It was not clear what was the conclusion of the regulator.

Protests against high electricity bills were organised in most big cities in the country over the weekend. In Sofia, where several thousand took to the streets, protesters clashed with the police in an attempt to reach the CEZ headquarters, BTA reported.

CEZ, which supplies electricity to Western Bulgaria, including the capital Sofia, has pledged to look into all complaints that have been lodged against the company and make corrections in the bills if necessary.

In an unrelated development, the head of the energy regulator Yuliana Ivanova resigned on Sunday, only a couple of days following her appointment to this position by prime minister Boiko Borisov. The prime minister requested her resignation after it emerged that a company she owned had been selling cigarettes online illegally.

Amendments will be passed this week making it possible for the National Assembly to elect the head of the energy regulatory commission, the energy minister told private broadcaster Nova Television in an interview. 

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