The Bulgarian energy exchange, a basis for the full liberalization of the country’s market, may be launched in early December. Most of all, this is strengthening competition between producers and traders, said Ivan Ivanov, chairperson of the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC). “In the second place, this is the free choice of the consumers, the industrial consumers in particular, but also of the household consumers. The third thing is the price,” the official explained at a conference, according to Focus Information Agency.
The Independent Bulgarian Energy Exchange (IBEX) is a subsidiary of the state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding. It aims to operate a market in the power engineering field with energy products, using the Euphemia algorithm. The delay in planned launch was due to the government’s stance to protect power generating companies and the local market, according to Radio Bulgaria. The exchange would, depending on the outcome of ongoing talks, initially trade power from Kozloduy nuclear power plant, Maritsa Iztok 2 thermal power plant and the hydropower plants. Registered dealers will be able to buy and resell energy one day in advance, the report said. Households would have access to the market from March. The market will provide a referential price, said Konstantin Konstantinov, the executive director of IBEX. Distribution companies still need to be obliged by EWRC to buy the so-called grid losses through the platform, he added. Price coupling of regions and multiregional coupling are planned for the time after the establishment of intraday trading, Konstantinov said.
Martin Vladimirov from the Center for the Study of Democracy suggested that businesses were benefitting from „artificially low prices, which could increase,“, Novinite agency reported. Upon the opening of the electricity exchange the Bulgarian and Greek exchanges will gradually link up, thereby freeing up electricity flows in both directions and possibly causing the price of electricity for businesses in Bulgaria to increase, he stated. Anton Ivanov from the Bulgarian Energy and Mining Forum argued that the opening of the market would not necessarily lead to price hikes. “The electricity exchange provides an opportunity for a union with neighboring markets. However, this union will not start functioning automatically. It is subject to special regimes of specification of the volumes of electricity traded on the respective exchange. Why talk about a Greek market and a Greek exchange? A union may be sought with markets up north, where energy costs less. That is to say, this will be a matter of choice,” he noted.
Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said the status of the National Electric Company (NEK), which was a public supplier, the only buyer of generated electricity, would be changed by the end of the year.
IBEX said in April it signed a cooperation agreement with power market Nord Pool Spot aimed at setting up and running the exchange.