Kosovo allocates 40 million euros for Serbs’ unpaid electricity
Sheep graze in a pasture near the ‘Kosova B’ coal-fired power plant in Obilic, Kosovo, 18 October 2021. Photo: EPA-EFE/VALDRIN XHEMAJ
The Kosovo government has allocated €40 million to cover unpaid electricity in the four Serb-majority municipalities in the north. The funds will be allocated to Kosovo’s energy distribution and supply company, KOSTT.
Kosovar Finance and Transfers Minister Hekuran Murati said the funds would be allocated to extend an agreement with ENTSO-E, the European Network of Electricity Transmission System Operators, and to meet obligations arising from that agreement. .
“KOSTT is going through financial difficulties because of its obligations to ENTSO; so that we continue to be on the same regulatory block and implement the agreement that has been in place for two years, now is the time to extend it,” Murati said.
KOSTT began operating independently from Serbian operator EMS throughout Kosovo in December 2020, later becoming part of ENTSO-E in a joint energy bloc with Albania.
Kosovar Economy Minister Artane Rizvanolli said the money will cover debt owed for electricity in the Serb-majority north until November 2022, when municipalities are expected to pay the bills themselves in accordance with a roadmap agreed between Kosovo and Serbia on energy.
Since the Kosovo war in 1999, the four Serb-majority municipalities have not paid for their electricity. Since 2017, KOSTT has been responsible for the energy payment for the four municipalities. KOSTT claims that in 2021 alone, the four municipalities incurred a debt of 40 million euros.
On June 21, Kosovo and Serbia agreed on a roadmap on the energy agreements reached in 2013 and 2015. According to the roadmap, the Kosovo Energy Regulatory Office would issue a supply license to Drustvo Elektrosever, a subsidiary in Kosovo of the Serbian state company. energy company Elektroprivreda Srbije, “in accordance with the legal and regulatory framework of Kosovo”.
Within ten days of the issuance of the license, Drustvo Elektrosever “will sign the necessary technical agreements with KOSTT and KEDS [the Kosovo Energy Distribution and Supply Company] operate on the Kosovo energy market”.
Economy Minister Rizvanolli said that “the institutions of Kosovo have made every attempt to achieve the agreement”. The agreements allow Drustvo Elektrosever “to provide distribution services (billing, collection, maintenance and physical connection of new customers) in the four Serb-majority municipalities in the north”.
However, Elektrosever has not yet provided the necessary information on consumption in the municipalities of the Serbian majority north, which prevents progress.
EU spokesperson Peter Stano told BIRN that “the delays in the implementation of the roadmap are due to technical reasons”, adding that the EU offers assistance to all parties. on how to solve problems.
Stano said KOSTT and Elektrosever are in contact with each other, the EU and the US. He also said that the EU is only a mediator in the Kosovo-Serbia negotiations and that the responsibility for implementation lies with both countries.