Bulgaria's Parliament Freezes Power Prices for Households

Bulgaria's lawmakers voted on Wednesday to shield households from surging energy costs by freezing their electricity and heating prices at current levels in the European Union's poorest state, a move slammed by power distribution companies, Reuters reported. In the past, rising prices have sparked protests in the Balkan country, where poor households often struggle to pay winter bills. Bulgaria's independent energy regulator had been discussing raising electricity prices by an average of 11.5% and heating prices by up to 30% for households from Jan. 1, bringing them more in line with the market prices power companies pay. Parliament, dominated by lawmakers from a ruling coalition that has promised to keep household power prices steady, voted on a moratorium, preventing the price hike for homes. Bulgaria's power distribution and supply companies, and the grid operator condemned the freeze, saying it could bring down the whole power system and with it the Bulgarian economy. They urged lawmakers to find other ways to support households instead of keeping prices artificially low. Read more.