The global situation, mainly influenced by the unprovoked Russian aggression in Ukraine, has made the coming winter difficult to predict in the supply of electricity. Experts, who criticize the government for lack of preparations, warn that importing energy due to the price may be unaffordable and demands cannot be met. KEDS says that the prices have increased fivefold and do not deny the possibility that they will ask for an extraordinary review of the tariffs again, while KEK states that they have intensified cooperation with Albania for energy exchange.
Dardan Abazi from the Institute for Development Policy (INDEP) says that with the disruption of international markets, Europe’s energy supply is also in question during the winter months, which could trigger a greater increase in import prices.
Abazi for KosovaPress has shown some measures that will be able to mitigate the effect of the crisis, starting from an awareness campaign for energy saving to strengthening the production capacities of the Kosovo Energy Corporation (KEC).
He wishes that the agreement on the energy in the north will start to be implemented quickly so that the payment for the energy used there does not become a burden during the critical winter months, while adding that there should be more frequent inspections to prevent the misuse of energy.
“As a country that depends for several weeks or months on the import of electricity, we are at risk in the coming winter months, in such a way that we will probably not be able to afford the import of electricity and we will not be able to fulfill our internal demand for energy… It is vital that at this time the Government of Kosovo works on energy efficiency measures. Then it is necessary for the Government of Kosovo to undertake an awareness campaign for citizens in order to reduce the demand for energy during the critical winter months. Also, the investment process in renewable energy sources should be accelerated so that during the winter months we are not completely dependent on one energy source but have diversification of production. The management capacities of KEC must be strengthened, we do not dare to tolerate other breakdowns in production at KEC which complicated or tripled the crisis last year… Let’s hope that the agreement for the north of Kosovo will also be implemented with accelerated steps. so that we don’t have to pay for that part of the energy during these months”, he said.
Abazi is also dissatisfied with the government’s preparations regarding the supply of energy during the cold months of this year.
“We are not satisfied with the preparations that are being made (by the government), much faster steps are needed, especially in the energy efficiency component, a program which could have been implemented since the beginning of the year, it should have been implemented by now, to equip the citizens with more advanced boilers that consume less fuel, or to completely change the energy systems, and invest in house insulation through programs in cooperation with the energy efficiency fund, with commercial banks. All this could have been done much earlier and we are seeing that the steps are very small”, he said.
The energy crisis last winter deepened even more when KEC’s blocks experinced malfunction. But, from this Corporation they say that they are taking all the necessary measures, so that during this winter energy production will be done at full capacity.
KEC’s spokesperson, Skënder Bucolli, through a written response to KosovaPress, said that they have intensified cooperation with Albania’s public energy producer, the Albanian Electric Corporation (AEC), by depositing surplus electricity there during the summer months.
According to him, until now KEC has deposited about 85,000 MWh of electricity at AEC, this deposit is expected to be returned to Kosovo during the winter season.
“The Kosovo Energy Corporation, according to the license, is responsible for the production of electricity and the exploitation of coal, and in this direction, all the necessary measures are being taken to increase security in the production units. The Kosovo Energy Corporation and the Albanian Energy Corporation based on previous practices and mutual agreements have exchanged electricity with a ratio of 1:1. It is worth noting that based on the agreements between the Government of Kosovo and the Government of Albania, KEC and AEC have started intensifying mutual cooperation. On this basis, referring to the weekly and daily plan, KEC is offering all excess electricity to AEC and until today, KEC has deposited about 85,000 MWh of electricity at AEC, this practice of mutual interest will continue in the future. Further, this deposit is expected to be returned to Kosovo at the time when it will need electricity, i.e. in the winter season”, said Bucolli.
While the Kosovar Electricity Distribution Company (KEDS) says that they are making preparations, but they warn that the winter will be difficult, based on the price of energy in international markets.
The spokesperson of KEDS, Viktor Buzhala, told KosovaPress that currently the prices are five times more expensive. He added that they are in constant contact with all actors in the country.
“We have constant contacts with the Government of Kosovo, namely other institutions… We mainly have reference prices in Hungary stock exchange, namely Budapest, where according to those prices, we are forced to buy as it is impossible to buy cheaper energy. Currently, the prices there indicate that they will be high, without wanting to forecast, but starting from last year’s developments, this year the prices are even higher. Last year it is known that the prices were at their peak, this year the prices are close to 400 euros per megawatt, compared to last year they were 70.80 to 100 euros, which is at least five times more, so we are talking about quintuple prices this year. Compared to last year, when the prices were extremely high, of course, based on these indicators, a rather difficult winter awaits us. We are revising the network and maintaining it… We are also continuing with other preparations, in order to have an easier time during winter, but this of course also depends on other factors”, said Buzhala.
He said that in order to overcome the winter season as easily as possible, mobilization is needed from everyone, including institutions and citizens.
Buzhala told KosovaPress that they may be forced to request an extraordinary review of the tariffs again, as it happened months ago.
“The costs are foreseen, but we don’t know what they will be. They are currently planned for each period of the year, but we do not know what they will be during the winter, because we work with rates approved a year in advance. While the costs that are made this year must be covered by the tariffs that came into force during the next year or eventually, we may be forced to make a request for extraordinary review… If we continue with these parameters, with high demand, with even higher prices than last year, then the situation will be quite problematic”, he said.
KosovaPress has also sent questions to the Ministry of Economy about the preparations being made to guarantee energy supply during the winter, but they have not been answered until the publication of this article.