SOFIA Aug 28 The head of the Bulgaria's state
energy regulator and his deputy resigned under pressure, the
economy ministry said, as the government seeks to halt the
financial deterioration of the heavily indebted state power
Boyan Boev and Liliya Mladenova decided to leave after
talking to Interim Economy and Energy Minister Vasil Shtonov,
the ministry said on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Shtonov had publicly called for their
resignations, blaming them for making poor decisions that
contributed to the energy sector's "very poor financial state".
"For a long time now, the decisions that have been taken in
the country's energy sector have been inconsistent, and too many
mistakes have been made," Interim Prime Minister Georgi
Bliznashki told reporters before the resignations were
announced, declining to provide details.
Boev and Mladenova could not immediately be reached for
Shtonov said that electricity prices should have been raised
gradually over the last 10 years, adding that prices will have
to increase by up to 50 percent in the next five or 10 years.
Electricity prices are politically sensitive in the European
Union's poorest member since power bills bite off a big chunk of
monthly incomes, especially during the winter.
The Socialist-led government, which resigned last month, cut
power prices twice after coming to office in May 2013, aiming to
avert a repeat of street demonstrations against high power
prices which toppled its centre-right predecessor in February
The Socialists then raised prices by an average of 2 percent
from July 1, the first rise approved by the regulator since June
2012, in an effort to keep down costs and huge deficits in the
Indebted state-owned power company NEK said it would
increase electricity prices by 16 percent from next month for
industrial consumers that do not buy energy on the free market.
Two senior officials of the Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH),
the parent of NEK and other state energy companies, also have
been dismissed recently for "not working well", the ministry
said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Bulgaria set up an energy board to ensure that
badly needed multi-billion euro projects in the poorest European
Union state are transparent.
(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; editing by Jane Baird)