site.btaElectricity Distribution Operators Owe No Compensation to Users for Power Outages during Recent Heavy Snow
Electricity distribution operators owe no compensations to users for the power outages caused by recent heavy snowfalls across the country. This transpired during a hearing in Parliament of Energy Minister Rumen Radev.
Gale-force wind and heavy snow in most of Bulgaria on November 25 and 26 closed roads, broke power lines and disturbed power supply in many settlements, especially in the north of the country. In some villages the power outages lasted for days.
Radev explained that an operator pays a compensations to power users who have been left without electricity for more than 24 hours due to the supplier's fault. The operator, however, owes no compensation when the outage has been caused by an emergency on the grid which is beyond the operator's control, including force majeure - as was the case after the late November snow.
Radev said that he had granted applications by two power distribution companies operating in the West and the North of Bulgaria, for controlled power outage.
Controlled power outage is allowed by a ministerial order issued within 24 hours from the submission of an application by an operator, and the operator is allowed to discontinue or disrupt normal power supply to prevent major emergencies along the grid. The controlled outage can last up to 48 hours.
The head of the energy regulator, Ivan Ivanov, who also attended the hearing in Parliament, said that the power distribution companies have no obligation to pay compensation for damage caused by the controlled power outage. That means that the regulator will have to carry out inspections to obtain the information it needs so as to handle the claims for compensation.