Varna TPP's Latest Cold Reserve Contract Threatens Energy Security in Bulgaria

The Anti-Corruption Fund (ACF) is concerned by media reports about another lucrative cold reserve contract, worth BGN 26.5 mln., to be awarded to Varna TPP, a power plant with questionable technical operability which was acquired by an influential politician via a dubious transaction.

The power plant, whose majority owner is Dr. Ahmed Dogan, honorary chairman of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, is among the winners in a tender by the Electricity System Operator (ESO) to allocate contracts for energy-generating capacity which is on stand-by and operates at times of low demand. Thus, Varna TPP will be a key factor for Bulgaria’s energy security until mid-2020.

In addition to the contractually-guaranteed sums, facilities with cold storage contracts are also paid for the electricity generated on the occasions when they are asked to start operation.

“An investigation we published in June raised serious questions about the operational suitability of Varna TPP and the power plant’s ability to meet its licensing obligations,” said Boyko Stankushev, director, ACF. “In this regard, we are extremely worried about the announcement of a new cold reserve contract being given to this facility.”

“The facts exposed in our investigation – which we put together despite the active resistance of public institutions – attracted significant public attention not just in Bulgaria, but also abroad. We sent reports to four public institutions and we continue to call for a thorough investigation.”

On 19 June 2019, ACF sent reports to the State Agency for National Security, the Ministry of Energy, and the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission about a 2018 cold reserve contract, awarded to Varna TPP.

“The relevant energy sector institutions should fulfill their oversight obligations and should address the questions we raised, motivated only by their duty to the public good,” said Stankushev.

ACF also filed a report with the National Revenue Agency, outlining suspicions of tax evasion on behalf of Dr. Dogan.

The key findings of the investigation are outlined in a short video, available here: тук.


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