All business consumers will enter the liberalized electricity market from October 1, 2020. This is stated in a bill amending the Energy Act, submitted for discussion in the National Assembly on 29.05.2020 by the Chairman of the Energy Committee – Valentin Nikolov and a group of MPs:
This means that even the smallest retail businesses such as shops, hairdressers, cafes, law firms, etc. will have to enter the free market and sign a supply contract with electricity trader. Therefore, the Energy and water regulatory commission (EWRC) will no longer regulate the prices of electricity for non-household consumers as of October 1. The price of electricity for all business consumers will be market based. This way, only households will remain on the regulated market, also all state and municipal organizations that have so far benefited from regulated prices will enter the free market.
The planned change will affect about 300,000 consumers with an annual consumption of about 4,500,000 MWh. One of the main concerns is whether distribution companies and traders will be able to handle all applications in such a short time. If the business consumers do not change their supplier by 1.10.2020, they will be supplied by a Supplier of last resort (SoLR), where the prices are higher than those on either the liberalized, or the regulated market.
One of the reasons for the rapid introduction of the further market opening is the inclusion of Bulgaria in the capacity mechanism. A capacity mechanism is an administrative measure to ensure the desired level of security of supply by remunerating generators (most often coal and other fossil fuel power plants) for the availability of resources. Bulgaria is currently in the process of approving a capacity mechanism, and one of the main requirements to the state is to present a plan for gradual liberalization of the electricity market.