„We are here to demand the resignation of the Minister of Energy because of the electric shock he has prepared for consumers by taking them out of the energy exchange – the free energy market.“
This was stated by Maya Manolova – representative of the left alliance „THE LEFT!“ (LEVITSATA) and Chairwoman of the civil platform „Stand up.BG“, during a protest initiative of „THE LEFT!“ in front of the Ministry of Energy. As a reason for the requested resignation she pointed to a draft law uploaded for public discussion by the Ministry of Energy, according to which in two steps household consumers will go to the energy exchange and buy electricity as companies buy it.
The first step is from January 1, 2024, in the middle of winter, when the National Electric Company (NEC) will cease to be a public supplier and the ERPs, final suppliers will sell electricity to consumers from the energy exchange. According to Manolova, this means that the electricity we pay at BGN 115/MWh will increase by BGN 100. We are talking about 3.5-4 million domestic consumers who consume 12.5 million MWh, which with an increase in electricity by BGN 100 means BGN 1.250 billion, which will come out of the pockets of Bulgarian citizens.
Against this background, THE LEFT!“ raised the question of whose lobbying interest the Minister of Energy is protecting. Maya Manolova specified that the EU does not oblige us to exclude consumers from the free energy market. She pointed out:
„This is a lobbying bill. This is a bill that serves the economic interests of traders and producers of electricity, but not Bulgarian citizens.“
The „LEFT!“ also addressed the other institutions that are supposed to protect consumers, such as the CPC and the EWRC, with a call to intervene and give a negative opinion against this bill. Maya Manolova brought out a calculator, which she said all consumers will need when they go to the energy exchange. Then she pointed out:
„When we go to the energy exchange, we will have to take into account how much electricity costs on it. That is, each of us will have to use such a calculator to calculate when to turn on the water heater in order to be able to pay the bill. Every citizen will have a calculator because of the lobbying interests that run this ministry.“
According to the alliance, it is not clear where the „compensations“ provided for in the bill will take into account the fact that the Energy System Security Fund is empty, because the state is still paying the companies abundantly because of the expensive electricity.
„Protection from expensive electricity will only be available for what they define as the ‘energy poor.’ According to the ministry, only those who are dependent on electrical equipment due to their health condition or those on social assistance are energy poor. But when the price of electricity doubles, and it used to reach a price of BGN 500-1000/MWh, then 90% of Bulgarians will be energy poor,“, Maya Manolova stressed.