Bulgaria finalises unbundling of electricity grid operator

07 January 2014 14:35 Source:ICIS

The Bulgarian electricity transmission system operator (TSO) ESO has been unbundled from the state-owned utility NEK, according to a decision made by energy regulator DKER in late December.

The unbundling process in Bulgaria to separate the management of transmission assets from generation assets, in line with the EU’s third energy package, has faced severe delays ( see EDEM 19 November 2012 and EDEM 19 December 2011 ).

ESO has received a 35-year licence to manage Bulgaria’s electricity transmission system.

ESO will also be responsible for organising a market for electricity trading and administer all electricity deals done at free or regulated market prices as well as on the balancing market, according to the DKER document.

The TSO was expected to launch the country’s day-ahead exchange once the balancing market starts functioning in line with EU trading rules but in October last year ESO unexpectedly withdrew its application to organise an exchange ( see EDEM 10 October 2013 ).

ESO did not respond to ICIS’ request for comment whether it plans to apply to be market operator again.

The grid operator will own assets worth Bulgarian Lev (Lv) 2.1bn (€2.07bn) but it will also inherit Lv64.2m worth of other debts. Until now NEK was the owner of the transmission system.

The TSO is expected to finish 2013 at a Lv4.85m loss because of low income from operational services but it should start making a profit in 2014, according to the document. Irina Peltegova

By Irina Peltegova