(DF) PM Yanev Comments on Recovery Plan, Green Deal, Gas and Electricity Spikes

October 2 (BTA) – Caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev commented to journalists here on Saturday on Bulgaria’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the upcoming closure of the coal-fired power plants, and the dramatic appreciation of natural gas and electricity. Yanev said that the Recovery and Resilience Plan is posing formidable challenges to his Cabinet. “We have taken the necessary measures, and the plan is largely ready. Expert level consultations are due for completion by the end of next week, so that the plan could be finalized by October 15 at the latest and submitted to the European Commission,” the PM pointed out. Asked about the closure of the country’s coal-fired power plants, Yanev said that the deadline is 2036 according to Bulgaria’s energy strategy and its commitments to the EU. The country, though, is still trying to extend this deadline in talks with the European Commission because this industry employs a large number of people. “Along with seeking opportunities to substitute other power-generation fuels for coal, action should also be taken to reskill the personnel in the sector,” the head of government noted, adding that all this should be addressed as a package before the end of next week. Yanev said that no measures to cushion business against the steep rise of natural gas prices are considered for the time being, but this will be done in future. Asked about the increase of electricity prices, he said that they depend on the market as electricity is traded on the exchange. “Being part of the Europe-wide market, our country cannot influence the electricity price directly,” Yanev explained. He specified, though, that an option to offset the hike to business has been identified, so that small and medium-sized enterprises, which are most vulnerable, would be protected for as long as the prices peak. “We will not intervene in the operation of the Independent Bulgarian Energy Exchange directly, but we will do everything possible for maximum transparency of the way transactions are concluded so as to avoid market methods distortion practices, especially by large traders,” the PM emphasized, assuring the media that a number of checks have already been ordered. Replying to a reporter’s question about the link between the expensive electricity and the resulting rise in water utilities’ costs, Yanev said that the Water and Sewerage Holding must set up a trading firm of its own to purchase electricity straight on the exchange. “I am calling on all electricity customers, both large and small, to safeguard their own interests by picking a suitable trader or to contract packages directly on the exchange: 36-month packages are already available,” the Prime Minister specified. VE/LG

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