As Bulgarian citizens suffer from declining wages and rising unemployment and taxation, massive angry rallies, triggered by the high energy prices, caused the entire Government of Boyko Borisov to resign in 20 January.
Winters in Bulgaria being very cold, the rising cost of electricity brought many households to despair. One of the main demands of the demonstrators was the re-nationalisation of the country’s utility sectors. The energy distribution networks, which were privatized in 2001-2005, are controlled by three energy giants: Czech ČEZ and Energo-Pro and Austrian EVN. The Government is accused of secret deals with the three companies for net profits of 15% and low taxation, whereas the companies blame the cold winter for the high bills. According to the state Commission for Energy and Water Regulation, two of the three power distributors have received statements of offence, whereas procedures have been launched against ČEZ that are expected to lead to the revocation of its license.