SOFIA, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Bulgaria's lowly energy security ranking threatens to harm its power-intensive economy and must be improved, an independent think-tank said on Wednesday.
The European Union's poorest member Bulgaria must raise energy efficiency in homes and in industry, diversify energy sources, in particular in gas supply, and improve energy sector governance and transparency, The Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) said.
The country has long been criticised for failing to liberalise its highly monopolised electricity and gas distribution markets in line with EU rules.
Bulgaria, which is heavily reliant on energy imports, was ranked 73rd in an index of energy security risk recently compiled by the U. S. Institute for 21st Century Energy, which includes the top 75 energy-consuming countries in the world.
"Bulgaria is one of the EU member-states which has not been able to implement on time the EU rules and regulations," Martin Tsanov of the Sofia-based CSD said.
"Its administration lacks the capacity to foresee the effects of the new directives on the consumers and the wider public," Tsanov added.
In January, Bulgaria's energy regulator chief Angel Semerdzhiev was dismissed after failing to enforce the European Union's energy market liberalisation requirements. (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by David Cowell)