The axe has fallen hard on Bulgaria and specifically its state-run electric production and distribution company Bulgarian Energy Holding (EAD), as the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition imposed a fine of 77 million euros on the business, due to its policy contradicting the principles of sound energy market operation.
More specifically, Bulgarian Energy Holding is reported to have blocked access of third-party companies to its main natural gas infrastructure for the past five years at least.
According to the European Commission, Bulgarian Energy Holding abuses its dominant position in the country’s energy market in order to damage its competitors.
It is noted that Bulgaria’s state-owned power generation and distribution company has been under the EC microscope since 2011, while a process to launch an investigation into the company begun in 2013.
Specifically, DG Competition of the European Commission notes that Bulgarian Energy Holding prevents access of other companies to the only natural gas storage facility in the country, the domestic gas transport network and the only import gas pipeline in Bulgaria.
“Without access to this necessary infrastructure, it is impossible for potential competitors to enter the wholesale gas and electricity market in Bulgaria” concludes the European Commission, stressing that this is an obstacle to efforts to develop and generate completion, as well as liberalize the energy market.
As a result, according to the European Commission, Bulgargaz – a subsidiary of Bulgarian Energy Holding – maintains the absolute monopoly.
The fine also concerns the subsidiaries of Bulgarian Energy Holding, Bulgargaz and Bulgartransgaz./IBNA