ECONOMY

Bulgaria ready to resume power exports in March

Bulgaria is prepared to resume power exports in the Bal-kans beginning March 1 after suspending them on record-low winter temperatures in January and declining output. «We will have some free capacity to export to the region, as the weather gets warmer from March 1,» Economy and Energy Minister Petar Dimitrov said in an interview in Sofia yesterday with a Bulgarian television station. «Covering domestic consumption remains our priority.» The government restricted power exports in January after several generators were closed to meet European Union requirements. The restriction affected power traders and the country’s seven distributors owned by Prague-based CEZ AS, Austria’s EVN AG and E.ON AG, Germany’s biggest utility. Dimitrov rejected local media reports about Bulgaria currently exporting power to Kosovo, the United Nations-run Balkan state that declared independence from Serbia on February 17. «If Kosovo requests electricity, we are prepared to supply it from March,» Dimitrov said. «Kosovo’s power imports run through Serbia’s grid. My current observations are that Serbian authorities won’t interfere with that.» Serbia supplies 40 percent of Kosovo’s electricity and before the declaration of independence had threatened to cut supplies. This hasn’t happened so far, though power cuts have been usual in Kosovo in the past decade as its aged power grid has not been renovated. Bulgaria had the biggest share of power exports in Southeastern Europe before it closed two of four reactors at the Kozloduy nuclear power plant to meet European Union atomic safety requirements on January 1, 2007. The country also closed one of three generators at its coal-fired Bobov Dol power plant two months ago to meet EU emissions limits. (Bloomberg)