Bulgarian Industry Appalled by Gas Price Hike

Bulgarian Industry Appalled by Gas Price Hike

The proposed hike in the price of natural gas of almost 30% will hit hard on the Bulgarian industry, writes Bulgarian daily Dnevnik.

After some weeks of debate, the Bulgarian State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation announced Thursday a raise of the price of natural gas with 29.6%, a number that still has to be officially confirmed Monday.

Dnevnik reports on comments from representatives of the Bulgarian industry who cry out at the dire consequences of the drastic price raise.

The new prices would force cutting down on production that is gas-dependent, according to some enterpreneurs, including Evgeniy Ivanov, director of the Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria.

Dnevnik also reports that industrialists cry out at the unclarity of price-formation for natural gas, and at a "monopoly" in gas supply.

"I cannot see how it is possible for natural gas to go up with 30% given that consumption has shrunk almost in half, while the euro-dollar exchange rate has shifted with 11%", Konstantin Stamenov, chair of the Bulgarian Federation of Industrial Energy Consumers, is quoted as saying.

Industrialists worry about a "monopoly" in the Bulgarian gas market, referring to state company Bulgargaz, which is the sole supplier of natural gas for industrial users. Earlier in the Spring Bulgargaz requested a price hike of 30% in order to meet its expenses. Any change of price has to be negotiated with the Bulgarian energy state watchdog, the Commission for Energy and Water Regulation.

Dnevnik reports that during the public discussion of the gas price hike Thursday at a sitting of the Council for Tripartite Cooperation, the Commission's head Angel Semerdzhiev failed to explicitly name the percentage of the price hike, and it had to be inferred from his other statements.

Industrialists pointed out the chronic problem of Bulgargaz in collecting its dues, which, if resolved, could eliminate the need for drastic price hikes.

The almost 30% raise will also hit hard on private citizens, since it will raise considerably the prices of heating.

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