The Energy and Water Regulatory Commission held a Final press conference dedicated to the completion of the activities under Project BG05SFOP001-2.012-0001 “Enhancing the analytical capacity of the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission”. The Project is financed under procedure BG05SFOP001-2.012 by the Operational Programme “Good Governance”, co-financed by the European Union through the European Social Fund. EWRC is the beneficiary of the Project and the activities are being implemented by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The total cost of the Project is BGN 1 300 000, of which BGN 1 105 000 grants from the European Social Fund and BGN 195 000 - national co-financing.

Participants in the final press conference, carried out through the Zoom platform, were the Director of EBRD Bulgaria, Ms. Anca Ionescu and other representatives of the financial institution, the project leaders Ms. Vesselina Haralampieva from EBRD and Mr. Plamen Mladenovski, Director Electric and Thermal Power Sectors, EWRC, EWRC experts, the project international consultant Dr. George Vlondakis from EXERGIA and other members of the consultant’s team. Ms. Veneta Tsvetkova, Energy projects and international cooperation Director at the Ministry of Energy took part in the conference as a guest visitor.

Mass media representatives (Capital, 3e News and Utilities) also participated virtually in the event.

Opening the media event, the project leader Plamen Mladenovski reminded that the project was a continuation of its first phase, financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, within which, among other activities, EWRC had received consulting assistance in two important directions: drafting proposals for amendments to the Energy Act on the tasks and powers of EWRC pursuant to Regulation (EU) № 1227/2011 (REMIT) on wholesale market monitoring; and market liberalization and gradual phase-out of regulated prices for households.

The main goal of the project was to enhance the analytical and technical capacity of the regulator and to improve price regulation and electricity market efficiency, in particular the efficiency of electricity network companies and the quality of their network services. Within the implemented project activities related to price regulation, draft normative acts have been developed - rules and methodologies, which EWRC is to adopt in order to synchronize the regulatory framework with the European requirements.

Based on the materials developed within the project, amendments have already been made to Ordinance No3 on licensing the activities in the energy sector related to powers under REMIT, and some new rules have been also developed and adopted: Methodology on determining sanctions, Rules on access to files and Operational rules of EWRC specialized directorate.

Welcoming the participants in the project, the Director of Bulgaria EBRD, Ms. Anca Ionescu, highlighted the successful implementation of the two phases of the Energy Sector Regulatory Development Programme, which will contribute to strengthening EWRC's capacity to meet the requirements of the Third Energy Package and for overall improvement of the regulatory activity. Confidence was expressed that the conducted trainings of experts and the developed rules and practices in the implementation of REMIT functions will play an important role in the process of electricity market liberalization in Bulgaria and for Bulgarian consumers of energy services. The commitment of the financial institution to continue to support projects contributing to the improvement of regulatory activity was reaffirmed.

In a presentation to the press conference participants, the head of the project consulting team Dr. George Vlondakis from EXERGIA presented the 6 activities carried out within the project, grouped into legal-regulatory, technical tasks and tasks related to analytical and technical capacity building. The importance of the rules for cooperation between EWRC and other institutions regarding investigations of REMIT violations and EWRC internal rules for conducting investigations were also emphasized. Regarding project activities related to the technical regulatory tasks, George Vlondakis highlighted the conducted training courses on regulatory accounting in setting energy tariffs, including the regulatory accounting treatment of various elements. Deliverables under the project technical regulatory tasks were the development of a draft Methodology on estimating CAPEX and OPEX of electricity distribution companies, a report including the experience and practices of EU regulators in regulating the quality of electricity and services and a draft Methodology on linking regulated revenues of network operators with indicators of efficiency and quality of services.

Press conference participants answered questions from journalists related to the implemented project activities and their role in improving the regulatory activity.

Closing Press Conference Project № BG05SFOP001-2.012-0001 "Enhancing the analytical capacity of the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission"

Summary information on the implementation of Project № BG05SFOP001-2.012-0001-C01 "Enhancing the analytical capacity of the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission" under Operational programme Good Governance