Energy crisis leads government to help Bulgarian households
Diana Kovacheva, said that the government should take measures to financially support domestic natural gas consumers as prices continue to rise and there are fears of a brutal winter.
Diana Kovacheva informed on Thursday that she was concerned about the information she received from households in difficulty and called on Bulgaria’s interim government to focus on quick action to financially support domestic natural gas consumers and companies using gas to heat residential buildings.
“I think the period of validity of this compensation should be at least until the end of 2022, with estimates for its extension until the end of the heating season in April 2023,” Kovacheva said.
This has become untenable as the price of natural gas sold by state-owned supplier Bulgargaz has more than doubled from 72.42 euros per MWh in June to 152.38 euros per MWh in August and is expected to reach 161.31 euros per MWh.
Kovacheva noted that natural gas-consuming households were compensated by the state in December 2021, when the price of gas was much lower, at 52.27 euros per MWh, and that they are entitled to ask for additional support from the state.
Bulgaria needs to diversify its gas resources, and this has been the subject of debate in recent months.
In the first quarter of 2022, Bulgaria and Poland cut their ties with Russia’s Gazprom amid deteriorating diplomatic relations following the invasion of Ukraine and EU sanctions against Russia.
Later, the coalition of former Prime Minister Kiril Petkov managed to conclude agreements with Azerbaijan and the United States, with supplies being transferred through a nearly completed gas interconnect between Bulgaria and Greece.
The tide changed after Petkov’s coalition collapsed in a vote of no-confidence and a caretaker government led by President Rumen Radev, who had previously been skeptical about Bulgaria’s ability to distance itself from Gazprom, took office on August 1.
While Petkov and Nikolov remain confident that gas resources will be available if the caretaker government confirms all the agreements already discussed and say there is no need to panic, President Radev and caretaker Prime Minister Gulub Donev have adopted a warning tone, predicting a difficult winter.
In early August, concerns were expressed that the interim government was sabotaging the completion of the interconnection with Greece in order to make Bulgaria dependent on Gazprom again. According to the latest estimates, the interconnector could be fully operational by October 1.
On August 17, the interim government appointed Denitza Zlateva as the head of the national gas company, Bulgargaz, and a new board of directors.