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Bulgaria fines Czech utility CEZ over power bills

Bulgaria's energy regulator fined Czech power utility CEZ 500,000 leva ($338,100) for failing to introduce monthly power bills.

The State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission said CEZ had not complied with its ruling last year to end three-month power bills, which it said hurt consumers, by the end of March.

The regulator said it has extended the deadline for the introduction of monthly bills until the end of June.

CEZ, which supplies power to over 2 million households and companies in western Bulgaria, including the capital Sofia, declined an immediate comment saying in a statement it wanted first to study the regulator's decision.

“We hope to have a chance to hold talks with the regulator to clarify possible queries about its decision. After that CEZ will have an official statement,” the Bulgarian unit of the company said.

In December, Bulgaria's competition watchdog fined CEZ 1.1 million leva for abusing its dominant position in the Balkan country's electricity market, mainly because of the three-month bills.

The watchdog said then CEZ had hurt consumers because it continued to charge them monthly on estimates, while measuring the consumed electricity quarterly. (Reuters)