Repairs started on June 1 in district heating plants in Serbia and most of the companies operating the facilities are heavily indebted, daily Večernje novosti reported. In just two months, total liabilities soared from RSD 8 billion (EUR 66.3 million) to EUR 190.6 million, mostly because of loan instalments due for payment after a year of grace period, the report said.
District heating operators borrowed extensively at development banks last year and cut what they owed to gas monopoly JP Srbijagas up to 40%. Still, most have problems in repaying the loans, so it is difficult to finance repairs. Milovan Lečić of Toplane Srbije, the heating plants association, told the newspaper that total debt was still smaller than a year ago, but rising. Still, one must take into account that citizens owe EUR 273.4 million, which means this debt multiplied, he added. „It seems no one is paying,“ Lečić said.
Still, he is certain there will be no problems in preparing the machines for the next heating season, but adds that only the necessary parts would be replaced in the facilities.
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