Bulgarian power producers cut output due to low demand

Power line in Bulgaria [Georgi Gotev]

Bulgaria’s power grid operator has ordered some electricity producers to cut output in an attempt to balance production and consumption, the state-owned company said today (15 May).

“The cuts were ordered due to low consumption and minimum export of electricity from Bulgaria,” Electricity System Operator’s [ESO] chief executive Ivan Yotov said.

“Current electricity consumption in Bulgaria varies between 3,000 and 4,000 megawatts, while exports are around 600 megawatts.”

The ESO said it ordered a reduction in output from the Kozloduy nuclear power plant and the coal-fired Maritsa East complex in southeast Bulgaria.

It said that one of Kozloduy’s reactors, which was shut for planned annual maintenance last month, would not be loaded at full capacity after being connected back onto the national grid next week.

More than 35% of the electrical power produced in the European Union’s poorest member comes from Kozloduy’s two remaining 1,000-megawatt, Soviet-made reactors.

Last month US companies AES and ContourGlobal, the operators of the Maritsa East coal-fired plants, agreed to cut the price of electricity they sell to Bulgaria’s public power provider NEK, in exchange for NEK making about 700 million levs (€350 million) in late payments by July.

High electricity prices sparked protests that toppled Borisov’s previous government in February 2013.

>> Read: Bulgarian prime minister quits following mass protests over electricity bills

Bulgarian politicians are often carried away with megalomaniac energy projects such as a second nuclear power central, reviving defunct the Nabucco gas pipeline project or building a giant gas hub in the country. However, the reality seems to indicate that such projects would not be bankable for the lack of energy demand, inside the country and also in its neighbourhood.

>> Read: Links Dossier: The energy conundrum in Bulgaria and Greece

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