Stakeholder engagement, Corporate communications

Modernization of the critical infrastructure of Sofia


Critical infrastructure is those facilities and systems whose failure can endanger the health and safety of the population, the environment, business, the national economy, and state institutions. Any accident in these facilities can have severe consequences for the security of Bulgaria.

The electricity distribution company CEZ, which operated the network in Western Bulgaria and the capital Sofia, operated a significant amount of critical infrastructure. It consisted of 26 substations, 23 of which are in the capital, Sofia, 30 km of 110-kilovolt cable lines, and 29 km of overhead power lines. Many of these facilities were designed and put into operation in the 1970s and 1980s with an average service life of 30 years and were without a residual life cycle.

In 2012, CEZ developed a strategy according to which BGN 130 million had to be invested in the critical infrastructure of the capital Sofia over a period of 10 years in order to avoid potential accidents. The amount of investment that the company could make was determined by the state regulator.


  • Attract public attention to the state of the aging critical infrastructure in Western Bulgaria
  • Achieve an understanding of the need for urgent measures to deal with the problem and to prevent accidents that could affect national security
  • Provide support for the need for the state regulator to approve larger investments in CEZ’s electricity distribution network.


  • Inform the public and stakeholders about the poor condition of critical infrastructure in Western Bulgaria, the associated risks and possible consequences for national security;
  • Present the possibilities for solving the problem
  • Initiate a public discussion and involving all stakeholders;
  • Join the efforts of CEZ Bulgaria, local authorities, and state institutions around a common plan for modernization of critical infrastructure.


  • A round table for the modernization of critical infrastructure with the participation of Sofia Municipality, the Construction Chamber, business, important municipal and state institutions, media and experts
  • 8 media events (organized within the period 2012-2014) to mark the implementation of investment projects related to critical infrastructure
  • 23 press releases
  • 50+ letters to stakeholders
  • 11 interviews with company managers
  • Regular meetings with key stakeholders – Sofia Municipality and the Construction Chamber in Bulgaria.


  • Awareness of the problem was increased- 828 media publications were generated on the importance of investing in critical infrastructure – 129 in print media, 654 in online media and 45 in television and radio stations
  • Public debate on the topic with the participation of stakeholders has been started
  • Achieving understanding among stakeholders about the priority of investing in critical infrastructure and supporting the regulator to approve higher investments
  • A 5-year program for investments and joint actions of CEZ and Sofia Municipality had been signed for the development of critical infrastructure.