The municipal building in Sliven, Source: Rundevuk on Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

Sliven estimates municipal energy bill will double, urgent sustainable measures are needed

Sliven estimates municipal energy bill will double, urgent sustainable measures are needed

Mayor Stefan Radev explained that local authorities are looking into ways to cut consumption, find new revenue streams and sustainable solutions to energy production

Yesterday, Stefan Radev, the mayor of Sliven, in Bulgaria, announced that the sharp rise in energy prices will affect the local administration heavily. He explained that according to preliminary estimations, the municipal yearly electricity bill would double or triple.

Currently, the city’s budget cannot handle the increase and the administration needs to find ways to reduce electricity costs, find new streams of revenue and find sustainable energy solutions. Mayor Stefan Radev explained that they are working on all three approaches.

The local energy crisis

The current European energy crisis affects everyone. Private consumers, businesses, industry, as well as municipalities, running thousands of street lights and electric vehicles. The sharp increase could also threaten the economic bounce back after months of lockdown.

This is due to the fact that electricity costs factor into practically every commodity and service available. This is especially true for municipalities running razor-thin margins due to years of austerity.

The city of Sliven’s current yearly electricity bill sits at a cool 500,000 euros, and according to the mayor, it could reach the crushing 2 million euros at current energy prices. The only way to keep prices down is for local authorities to act quickly in all three domains:

  • Sustainability;
  • Lowering consumption;
  • Alternative revenue streams.

The bigger picture

Meanwhile, Bulgaria is gripped by massive protests from trade unions and businesses alike, as the forecast utility price increase threatens to wreak havoc on the country’s recovering post-Covid economy.

Maria Mincheva, the head of the legal department in the Bulgarian Industrial Association explained that the European Green Deal is knocking on Bulgaria’s door: “And we are still in our pyjamas, rubbing our eyes.”

Nearly 200,000 schools, hospitals, cultural institutions, water suppliers, train operators and public transport are all threatened by the energy rise. Currently, the government is proposing limited measures in the form of cash rebates for businesses.

The trade unions and syndicates have a counteroffer, the National Energy Commission should purchase the energy directly from producers and sell it at a thin profit to blunt the price jump for the whole country.



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