SOFIA – Bulgarian lawmakers voted to freeze electricity and heating prices for households until the end of March, giving the new ruling coalition time to come up with a plan to protect the member state most poor European Union from rising energy costs.
“The National Assembly imposes a moratorium on the prices of electricity, water and heating on the regulated market at the levels of December 16, 2021. The decision is valid until March 31, 2022”, according to the rider , which will come into force on the day of its promulgation.
The bill was approved by almost all parties in parliament, with 186 lawmakers supporting it, two against and two abstaining.
The Turkish ethnic party MRF did not take part in the vote, calling the proposal populist and illegal.
Electricity distribution and supply companies have warned that price caps, by preventing them from passing on soaring wholesale prices to consumers, could drag them into a deeper liquidity crisis after the price spike in September. .
Earlier this week, the independent Bulgarian energy regulator, the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission, proposed to increase electricity prices by 11.5% on average and the prices of the heating by about 30% to bring them closer to the market prices that power companies pay for electricity and natural electricity. gas.
The last increase in electricity prices for households was in July, when they rose 3.5 to 5 percent, according to the supplier.
The December 16 vote comes three days after parliament confirmed a new government headed by Kiril Petkov after his new anti-corruption party We Continue The Change sealed a government coalition deal with three other factions.
The move follows a political stalemate lasting several months that has resulted in three parliamentary elections this year.