The Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) and the Azerbaijan Energy Regulatory Agency (AERA) have the will to develop and enhance the bilateral cooperation on all issues of mutual interest in the field of energy regulation. The two national regulatory authorities are convinced that the international cooperation and interaction with regulators from other countries are important factors in exchange of best practices and experience in order to improve the efficiency of the regulatory activity. The Cooperation Agreement signed in September this year between the two regulators has a vital role therein. It sets the legal framework to enhance the bilateral contacts and exchange of information on energy regulatory policies as well as on various regulatory issues.
These positions have been expressed at today online meeting of EWRC Chairman – Ass. Prof. Ivan Ivanov and members of the Bulgarian Regulator with AERA delegation, headed by the Chairman of the Management Board – Dr. Samir Akhundov and the Deputy Chairman of the Management Board – Rovshan Ismayilov. On behalf of EWRC, the meeting was attended by the members of the Commission – Mrs. Evgenia Haritonova and Mr. Georgi Dobrev as well as by the Directors of “Electricity and Heat” and “Legal” Directorates – Mr. Plamen Mladenovski and Mrs. Elena Marinova. Experts from strategic planning and innovation, regulatory activity, business analysis and tariffs departments also participated on behalf of the Azerbaijani regulator. The Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Bulgaria – HE Dr. Nargiz Gurbanova also took part in the meeting.
“The Cooperation Agreement with the Azerbaijan Energy Regulatory Agency is a continuation of the EWRC active policy aiming at expanding and intensifying the cooperation with other countries national regulators. Bilateral partnership development is a consistent trend at European level which results are visible since it contributes to strengthening the national regulators and to harmonized development of the region in the energy regulation” said EWRC Chairman – Ass. Prof. Ivan Ivanov. The AERA representatives have been informed of the role of the Bulgarian regulator as a significant factor for the energy development as well as for the interest balancing and the equality between consumers and producers. It has been highlighted that currently a fast-track energy market liberation is ongoing in Bulgaria, a gas exchange has been founded using a natural gas trading platform and since 2016 the Independent Bulgarian Energy Exchange has been operating. All business (non-household) consumers are in process of entering the free market and as provided for in the roadmap adopted – by the end of 2025 all household consumers should do the same as well. Ass. Prof. Ivanov pointed out that EWRC contributes to the supplies diversification by providing regulatory support to the investment energy projects of national significance aimed at ensuring the energy security and independence in the country. He also paid special attention to the EWRC role in development of the bilateral cooperation between Bulgaria and Azerbaijan as regards gas supplies which are planned to start in 2021.
“Azerbaijan Energy Regulatory Agency considers highly important the cooperation with other national regulators as a mechanism for achieving regulatory efficiency” said at the online meeting the Chairman of the AERA Board, Dr. Samir Akhundov. In his opinion, the experience of the Bulgarian regulator, which will be shared during the trainings and the exchange of information provided for in the Agreement, will enable the Azerbaijani energy regulator to achieve its objectives as regards the harmonization of the national regulatory framework and transformation of energy markets. In her greeting to the participants in the meeting, the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Bulgaria – HE Dr. Nargiz Gurbanova expressed gratitude for the EWRC role in support of bilateral economic cooperation, especially in the field of gas supplies from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria.
With a focused presentation the AERA representatives acquainted the Bulgarian delegation with the regulatory framework and functions of the Azerbaijani energy regulator established in 2017. The main priorities in the field of energy and gas regulation are set to be licensing, tariffs, competition investment and energy efficiency encouragement, control implementation. By the presentation of the Director of the Electric and Thermal Power Directorate – Mr. Plamen Mladenovski, the AERA representatives were acquainted with the electricity market model in Bulgaria, the role of the regulator in determining regulated prices, pricing mechanisms, the functioning of the free market, measures to support RES, Bulgaria's participation in the regional market integration.
At a later discussion, the two delegations discussed issues of mutual interest in the field of regulatory activity.
At the end of the meeting, the heads of the two regulators – Assoc. Prof. Ivan Ivanov and Dr. Samir Akhundov - stressed the importance of bilateral contacts to improve regulatory activity and agreed to hold a new workshop in early 2021.