SOFIA, March 1 (Reuters) - Bulgaria's energy regulator proposed an average 6.4 percent cut in household electricity costs on Friday, less than an 8 percent reduction suggested by the outgoing government to quell protests against worsening living standards.
Frustration has grown with a political elite accused by many Bulgarians of failing to raise living standards towards levels elsewhere in the European Union and enforce the rule of law.
Bulgaria has the cheapest electricity costs in the European Union but also its lowest living standards - less than half of the average in the 27-member bloc.
An increase in electricity prices since last July under an energy market liberalisation has made it even harder for Bulgarians to heat their homes through a cold winter and tens of thousands have taken to the streets in protest.
Acknowledging the depth of public anger, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov's government stepped down last week and Bulgaria now faces weeks of political limbo before a May election that could result in a hung parliament.
The regulator said it would consult with the public over the cuts and decide on the new tariffs on March 5.
The regulator proposed a 7.3 percent price cut for customers of Austrian distributor EVN, a 6.7 percent cut for customers of Czech firm CEZ and a 5.3 percent cut for those of another Czech group, Energo-Pro.
It did not explain on Friday how the cuts would be achieved.
Outgoing Energy Minister Delyan Dobrev has said the country could boost the share of power supplied by the Kozloduy nuclear plant, which produces the cheapest energy in Bulgaria, with other producers cutting their output for households.
He said he expected the regulator would also cut the amount that energy distributors can claim for technical losses.