Bulgarian municipalities can get government help with high electricity bills – subject to verification

Municipalities in Bulgaria – many of them reducing street lighting and heating public buildings due to rising electricity bills – may receive state aid, but only after an all-clear on how they have been handling their public procurement.

Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said on February 2, after cabinet ministers discussed local government electricity bill crises, that a working group would be set up with finance and energy ministries to examine whether local authorities could be compensated for rising electricity bills .

But, Petkov said, the Public Finance Inspectorate would screen municipalities that applied for help to see if the lack of funds wasn’t the result of bad practices.

He mentioned the Municipality of Sofia, which was said to be bidding for street lighting work at rates well above market norms. The allegations are currently being investigated by various bodies, including prosecutors.

Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov, who attended a press conference with Petkov after the cabinet meeting, said he would check whether municipalities had implemented street lighting energy efficiency programs.

At the beginning of the cabinet meeting, Petkov said: “What we see is that on the other side it says that there are no funds for important, critical things like schools, lighting, kindergartens.

“On the other hand, we see that there is an opaque way to spend money on other things,” Petkov said.

“That’s why I want to discuss how to connect the two things – the municipalities that need funds and are unable to meet their costs, and potential scrutiny by the Treasury to ensure spending of their existing funds and budgets is being made in the most transparent way.” way,” he said.

On February 2, EVN, one of the three energy distributors in Bulgaria, announced that the implementation of the state program to compensate business customers for energy costs in December 2021 and January 2022 is underway.

The compensation would be reflected in invoices issued in February 2022, EVN said.

(Photo: John Mason/freeimages.com)

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