European Union antitrust regulators today (10 December) accepted an offer from state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) to open up the Balkan country’s wholesale electricity market.
“BEH has committed to offer certain volumes of electricity on an independently-operated day-ahead market on a newly-created power exchange in Bulgaria,” the European Commission said in a statement.
The offer came following a three-year investigation which led to EU charges that BEH had prevented traders from freely re-selling electricity bought from the company and that it also set territorial curbs on the traders.
The Commission said such behaviour breached EU antitrust laws, putting BEH at risk of a fine up to 10% of its revenues if found guilty of wrongdoing.
Bulgaria will hold the first test trading session of its newly created day-ahead power exchange on Friday and plans to have it fully operational as of next year.
BEH has teamed up with European power market Nord Pool Spot to set up the exchange. It has promised Brussels it will transfer control of the ownership of the exchange to the Bulgarian finance ministry to ensure its independence.
BEH will also provide liquidity to the power exchange for five years. The volumes will be put up for sale in the day-ahead market, with a maximum price based on the marginal costs of BEH’s production subsidiaries.
The Commission said it was satisfied with these commitments.
“They will make it easier to trade electricity, improve price transparency on the market and promote the integration of the Bulgarian wholesale electricity market with neighbouring countries’ markets,” the Commission said.