Czech president-elect says govt should defend CEZ via EU contacts, arbitration.

By bne IntelliNews February 22, 2013
Czech president-elect Milos Zeman said the government should use its contacts in the European Union and arbitration mechanisms to defend the position of energy group CEZ in Bulgaria, CTK news agency reported. Earlier this week Bulgarian energy regulator started a procedure to revoke CEZ's power distribution licence in the country amid mass protest against skyrocketing electricity bills. The regulator said CEZ violated procurement laws in Bulgaria by assigning contracts without holding tenders. CEZ now has a seven-day period to respond to the issued statements of violation and another seven-day period to address the deficiencies. A final decision on CEZ licence will be taken on April 16. CEZ said it did not violate the laws. If CEZ loses its licence in Bulgaria it will be a blow to the company which was stripped of its licence in Albania in January 2013. The row in Bulgaria comes at a time when CEZ, majority-owned by the state, is facing police investigation over four business deals and is seeking to end an EU probe into anti-competitive behaviour.

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