Bulgaria unveils power industry development strategy

Feb 07, 2002 01:00 AM

The prices of electricity for household and industrial users must draw level this year, according to Energy Minister Milko Kovachev of Bulgaria. His ministry presented a concept for working out a power industry development strategy at the Council of Ministers on 7 February.

The concept will be posted on the government's website, and the strategy itself is to be adopted in March. As from the end of last year, the household electricity rate is 0.098 leva/kWh peak and 0.062 leva/kWh off-peak, and industrial electricity costs 0.130 leva/kWh peak and 0.062 leva/kWh off-peak.
The rehabilitation of the Maritsa East III coal-fired power plant capacities will increase the average selling price of electricity by 3.5 %. The closure of units one and two of the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant will add another 3 % to the electricity rates, and the construction of new capacities at Maritsa East I will hike the price by a further 10 %, Kovachev said. "Every investment in the power industry has its price," the minister explained.

Energy exerts a strong influence on the country's gross domestic product, he argued. Bulgaria has the most energy intensive production among all EU applicant countries in the region, and the energy intensity of output is increasing. In the early 1990's, $ 1,000 of GDP took 1,300 kg of fuel equivalent to produce, while the same amount of GDP now requires 1,600 kg of fuel equivalent.
The concept does not deal with energy prices and deadlines for closure of N-plant units, Kovachev said. The power industry must provide high-quality and environment-friendly services to the economy and the public, the minister said. Bulgaria will be trying to increase its energy exports by improving the efficiency of generating capacities, Kovachev said. The state will curtail its administrative role and will create transparent and impartial conditions for business and for protection of public interests. Energy prices must be consistent with production costs, he also said.

Source: BBC
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