An article published in Sega describes the development of the proposed changes in the Energy Act through the newly proposed law on industrial parks. We publish an excerpt from the material, the full version is available at: https://www.segabg.com/hot/category-economy/pravitelstvoto-se-sbluska-dostavchicite-na-tok-i-gaz
The energy law, already amended 7-8 times this year, has once again sparked friction between government and business. The reason now is another set of changes that the Council of Ministers introduced in the parliament through the transitional and final provisions of a completely different bill, in this case – through the new Law on Industrial Parks.
The amendments introduce the possibility of building closed distribution systems in the industrial parks, which will distribute electricity and gas to the business consumers located in them. Closed distribution system operators will be located in territories where other electricity or gas network operators are already licensed. In order to make room for future suppliers in the parks, the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) will be given the right to initiate amendments to existing licenses, which will exclude industrial areas – both existing and planned.
A legal entity will be able to obtain a license for both a closed distribution electricity system and a closed distribution gas system. The prices at which the closed systems will transfer and deliver energy will not be approved by the EWRC. In addition to industrial users, closed distribution system operators will be able to supply household customers, if they are located in the industrial zone.
Concerns that business will be seized are expressed by the three large distribution system operators (DSOs) – CEZ, Energo-Pro and EVN. They are also concerned that closed network operators will not be subject to the same strict regulations that apply to existing operators – even with regard to the prices at which they offer their services. DSOs define this situation as discriminatory for them and their clients and for consumers of closed distribution systems as they won’t be able to choose electricity supplier, as market liberalization suggest.
The EWRC also did not like the amendments. The chairman of the commission Ivan Ivanov pointed out that the legislative proposal allows “an indefinite number of persons” who own facilities allowing distribution of electricity or gas to take advantage of the opportunity to acquire the status of an industrial park, including requesting licenses for distribution of energy in closed distribution system. In this way, the strict requirements for financial, technical and human resources, which are provided in the Energy Act for such activities, are in fact circumvented.
However, the ruling parties approved the law, which turned out to be enough to pass the first reading in both commissions. Valentin Nikolov from GERB – the chairman of the energy committee, admitted that the main controversial points in the bill come from the provisions concerning the Energy Act.