SOFIA (Bulgaria), September 28 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria's caretaker government plans to spend up to 650 million levs ($389 million/332.3 million euro) to help businesses cope with soaring electricity prices, caretaker finance minister Valeri Belchev said on Monday.
"Preliminary calculations show that around 600 million levs - 650 million levs will be needed for a six-month financial aid," Belchev said in a press release.
The caretaker government will propose state aid of 50 levs per MWh of electricity used by businesses in the first six months of next year as part of the 2022 budget draft it will submit to the new parliament after the November 14 snap vote, caretaker prime minister Stefan Yanev said in the same press release.
The money is to be taken from the state energy companies' superprofits, Yanev explained. This is lower than the 70 levs per MWh demanded by the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association.
Another long-term measure is the formulating a national position on the need of a more flexible European policy for the state aid compensatory mechanisms, as well as on a temporarily lower carbon emissions price. A third long-term measure is the creation of a clearinghouse with help from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economy and the Bulgarian Stock Exchange.
"This is a mechanism which, together with the Independent Bulgarian Energy Exchange, will work towards balancing the interests of electricity producers, dealers and customers, thereby creating conditions for a flexible market and lower financial risk for the market participants," the caretaker PM said.
As a short-term measure, the Ministry of Energy and state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding will start offering new positions for long-term electricity contracts suitable for small-sized clients.
"This way, the small- and middle-sized enterprises will be helped by an easier market access and more easily negotiable prices," Yanev noted.
Bulgaria's electricity price for households was set at an average of about 115 levs per MWh in July. The average price on the liberalised market used by businesses jumped to 218 levs per MWh in August. On Monday, the average price on the Bulgarian energy bourse's day-ahead platform was 292 levs per MWh.