Energy Crisis

Democratic Party demands parliamentary inquiry: who is responsible for outages in EPS?

Democratic Party asks for parliamentary inquiry committee who is responsible for outages in EPS

Serbia's largest power plants - TENT A (photo: EPS)

Published

September 5, 2022

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Published:

September 5, 2022

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The opposition Democratic Party (DS) Parliamentary Group has requested the establishment of an inquiry committee to determine who was responsible for a series of outages in Serbia’s biggest coal power plants Nikola Tesla A and B (TENT A and TENT B) from December 8 to January 12. The breakdowns resulted in Serbia becoming a major importer of electricity, spending EUR 650 million since then.

Member of Parliament and Vice-President of the Democratic Party Miodrag Gavrilović said the DS Parliamentary Group requested the creation of an inquiry committee that would determine the facts, circumstances and responsibility for a series of outages in coal power plants from December 8, 2021, to January 12, 2022.

The party is convinced that the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) is responsible for the outages in the TENT complexes, the largest electricity producer in Southeastern Europe, Gavrilović said.

Gavrilović: SNS is responsible for the outages in the largest producer of electricity in Southeast Europe

Of note, outages in power plants TENT A and TENT B, with a capacity of 2,800 megawatts (MW) in total, and a 25% share in the country’s overall power generation, forced Serbia to import large amounts of electricity since December 8. Following a series of breakdowns and fires, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said Milorad Grčić, who was at the time the acting director of state-owned coal and power utility EPS, was personally responsible for the “total collapse.” Some of the reasons for the collapse were insufficient quantities of coal and its poor quality as well as technical failures.

Grčić resigned soon after, and EPS recorded a loss of EUR 254 million for the first quarter of this year. The company’s financial difficulties are getting worse every day. It is currently estimated that EUR 5 billion would be needed to import electricity and gas by the end of winter, while the normalization of the situation in EPS is not expected before 2024.

DS: There are many unanswered questions

Regarding the request for the establishment of an inquiry committee, DS said many questions remained unanswered.

“What exactly did the Security Information Agency (BIA) find out while investigating the outages at thermal power plants last winter? Did the acting director of EPS or some other executives eavesdrop on Mining and Energy Minister Zorana Mihajlović?” DS asked in a press release.

Why was the Ministry of Energy and Mining unable to control EPS’s activities?

The party also asked why Grčić claimed in a written statement that Mihajlović was destroying Serbia’s energy system for other people’s interests. It raised the question of linkages between citizens and firms blacklisted by the United States Department of Treasury that are close to the highest ranking Serbian politicians, and the series of outages in EPS.

“Why couldn’t the Ministry of Energy and Mining control the operation, and organization in EPS?”, Gavrilović said and asked: “Who actually operates EPS: the government, EPS employees or some third parties; and who organized a sabotage in thermal power plants and caused outages last winter?”

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