Bulgaria's competition regulator said the three power distribution companies operating in the country are abusing their dominant position on the local market.
CEZ Razpredelenie Bulgaria, EVN Bulgaria Elektrorazpredelenie and Energo-Pro Grid have been charging unreasonably high prices for access to their low voltage overhead power distribution network, thus restricting and preventing competition, the Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) said in a statement.
The local units of Czech energy companies CEZ and Energo-Pro and Austria's EVN have been calculating into their tariff for renting out their power distribution grid - which is a non-core business for them - costs which they incur for the provision of core services, according to the commission. This has resulted in inflated prices, it added.
The commission's conclusions cannot be appealed but the power distributors have 30 days to put forth their objections.
Commenting on the regulator's statement later on Tuesday CEZ Razpredelenie Bulgaria denied any wrongdoing.
The electricity poles are property of the company, and the prices for renting them out are economically justified, the company said, adding that its tariff was determined in compliance with the law, based on market principles, and taking into account all related costs.
CEZ Razpredelenie Bulgaria will take all steps to protect the interests of its clients and shareholders, it added.
EVN Bulgaria Elektrorazpredelenie and Energo-Pro Grid too issued statements saying they will file their objections to the competition regulator's decision within the law-prescribed time-frame.
The commission's decision comes as the country's energy regulator is expected to come up with a decision on whether to revoke the three companies' licences.