The price of natural gas will fall at least 10 per cent from October, Angel Semerdjiev, Chairman of the State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission, told journalists on Tuesday.
He predicted that this would lead to lower heating prices this winter. For example, central heating users in Sofia will see a price drop of about 7 per cent.
Semerdjiev said the decrease would result from last week's agreement with Russia. Any fall in prices at the entry to Bulgaria's gas transmission system will benefit all consumers.
Directly linked consumers use some 85 per cent of the gas supplied, and about 15 per cent is provided to customers by the gas distribution companies, which could also cut prices, Semerdjiev explained. Home users, who pay the highest prices to the gas distribution companies, will also see a drop in prices.
On July 17, Bulgaria and Russia agreed that the price of Russian natural gas for Bulgaria would be reduced and the gas supply intermediaries would be removed when Russian supplier Gazprom concluded agreements with Bulgarian distributor Bulgargaz.
Semerdjiev also said that alongside the agreed 7 per cent reduction in the price of Russian gas, other factors which will lower gas prices include the dollar/euro exchange rate and the prices of alternative fuels, which are stabilizing.
Semerdjiev denied rumours about Bulgargaz's bankruptcy, saying that the company's only problem was the low rate of receivables collection.
Commenting on an audit of electricity distribution companies CEZ, E.ON and EVN, Semerdjiev said that statements of findings would be presented to them on Wednesday at the latest. He mentioned violations at the three companies, including overpriced outsourcing. He said the three companies would most probably be fined 1 million leva each, which is the highest penalty.