Bulgarian caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev commented on Bulgaria’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the upcoming closure of the coal- fired power plants, and the significant hikes of natural gas and electricity.
PM Yanev said that the National Recovery and Resilience Plan is posing formidable challenges to the Government, adding that expert level consultations are due for completion by the end of next week, so that the plan could be finalized by 15 October at the latest and submitted to the European Commission.
Regarding the closure of the country’s coal-fired power plants, PM Yanev said that the deadline is 2036, according to Bulgaria’s energy strategy and its commitments to the EU. However, the country is still trying to extend this deadline in talks with the European Commission because this industry employs a large number of people. Along with seeking opportunities to substitute coal with other electricity-generation fuels, action should also be taken to retrain the employees in the coal sector.
He said that no measures to help businesses to cope with the steep rise of natural gas prices are considered for the time being, but this will be done in future. Regarding the increase of electricity prices, he said that they depend on the market as electricity is traded on the exchange. Being part of the Europe-wide market, Bulgaria cannot influence the electricity price directly. He specified, though, that an option to offset the hike to businesses has been identified, so that small and medium-sized enterprises, which are most vulnerable, would be protected for as long as the prices peak. The Government will not intervene in the operation of the Independent Bulgarian Energy Exchange (IBEX) directly, but it will do everything possible for maximum transparency of the way transactions are concluded so as to avoid market methods distortion practices, especially by large traders.