Turkish electricity imports drop as Bulgarian exports, Iran capacity reduced
Electricity imports into Turkey have dropped by some 200MW in the first days of March as Bulgaria reportedly reduced its exports to neighbouring countries while the interconnector with Iran was off line for maintenance, two sources at the grid operator TEIAS confirmed on Monday.
Turkey has been importing an average total of 950MW from Iran, Bulgaria, Greece and the Nagorno Karabakh region for the last six months, but since the beginning of March, average daily imports dropped to 750MW. On Sunday, imports dropped to 576MW, but bounced back to 733MW on Monday. The values published by TEIAS were measured during peak hours.
On Monday, there were no imports from Iran as the interconnector was off line between 10.00 - 16.00 Turkish time. However, flows were expected to resume later in the evening, according to TEIAS. Turkey imports up to 400MW from Iran during the winter period, but the capacity decreases during spring and summer. Iranian exports to Turkey are still in winter mode.
Bulgarian plants on hold
In a separate development, the Bulgarian grid operator ESO said on Monday six units of three power plants suspended operations during the weekend because of low exports and reduced domestic consumption.
The Bulgarian grid can export up to 1.6GW, but flows to neighbouring countries did not exceed 160MW over the last few days.
Units 3,4 and 5 of TPP Maritsa East 2, unit 1 of TPP Maritsa East 1 and two of the four units of TPP Maritsa East 3 temporarily stopped work, ESO said in the statement, adding that production would resume once domestic power consumption picked up and exports returned to their usual level. Consumption is reduced throughout southeast Europe thanks to ample hydro generation. This means that regional power prices remain at a record low.
Impact on Turkey
Traders active in Turkey questioned whether the curtailments may be affecting delivery values on the exchange PMUM where March prices are delivering at an average TL140.00/MWh, some TL10.00/MWh above February values.
"I don't think there is an immediate impact on spot prices because the volumes imported from Bulgaria are small," a source at TEIAS told ICIS.
The source added that flows from Bulgaria to Turkey had dropped and may remain limited during the month despite the fact that the maximum 266MW of capacity were allocated in both directions this month.
"It may be that the capacity was allocated in full on both sides, but the usage is much lower because border prices in March are much lower," he explained.
The March Bulgarian-Turkish border price published by TEIAS was pegged at €3.03/MWh after outturning at €14.21/MWh in February.
Another source noted that Bulgaria may now be considering reducing flows and selling cheap energy to the regulated market following some domestic political unrest caused by an increase in end-user power prices. The measure led to the resignation of the government last month.
Last Friday, Bulgaria's energy regulator DKER proposed cutting household electricity costs effective from Tuesday. The outgoing government proposed 8%, but the regulator's proposed cuts vary according to the distribution company (see EDEM 1 March 2013). Aura Sabadus and Irina Peltegova
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