The Bulgarian Committee on Economic Policy, Energy and Tourism has adopted amendments to Bulgaria’s Energy Act and Renewable Energy Sources Act, which aim to legitimize "fees for grid access" for renewable energy producers. Approval is expected to be received within the next three weeks.
The grid fee, which was "illegally" set by the State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (DKER) in September, will see renewable energy producers retroactively paying up to 39% of their income back to the electricity distribution companies (EDCs).
The amendments were said to have been adopted on November 7 and, if approved, will legitimize the fee. "In order to be adopted as quickly as possible, the changes were entered directly to the second reading to the committee in the form of transitional and final provisions of the 'Act for export control of goods with dual‐use and products related to the defense'," says the Bulgarian Photovoltaic Association (BPVA) in a statement released.
Since all Bulgarian electricity consumers already have to pay a monthly grid access fee, the new fee means that green energy producers are effectively paying twice for gird access continues the BPVA.
In another twist, it says the fees collected may also be used to compensate for the costs of buying renewable electricity, as opposed to going towards grid management, which is said to be the official reason for the implementation of the fees.
"This will allow EDCs to transfer the money to the End Supplier Companies – i.e., to another company of their own corporate group. Thus, End Supplier Companies will be capitalized in violation of the law and the rules of the EU ‐ Directive 2009/72/EC [which] explicitly prohibits cross‐subsidies between transmission, distribution and supply of electricity," writes the BPVA in a statement released.
It adds, "This would lead to an absurd situation in which RES producers pay themselves for the produced electricity."
A spokesperson for the BPVA told pv magazine that "By adoption of the legal changes, the regulator will [have] the right to determine annually grid access fees for RE production. The legislative procedure could take 2-3 weeks between adoption by the parliamentary committee and the final vote in plenary room."
On September 18, it was announced that the Bulgarian state regulator had introduced a retroactive renewable energy grid fee – without consulting relevant industry stakeholders – under which photovoltaic operators have to pay back between 1 and 39% of their FITs.
As such, a system up to 5 kWp, grid connected in 2010 and granted a tariff of BGN 792.89/MWh (around €405; US$528), will have to pay 20% of their tariff in grid fees back. Meanwhile, a 10 MW plant that was grid connected between this January and June, and which received a tariff of BGN 485.60/MWh, will have to pay 39% back. After September 1, a fee of just 1% applies.
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