The government in Prishtina has allocated EUR 40 million for transmission system operator KOSTT to cover the costs of unpaid electricity bills in the four Serb-majority municipalities in the north of Kosovo*, where residents have not been paying for the electricity they consume for over two decades.
KOSTT is going through financial difficulties due to the obligations it has towards the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E) in order to continue to be in the same regulatory bloc, said Hekuran Murati, Kosovo’s finance minister.
Belgrade and Prishtina have recently agreed on a roadmap for implementing two energy agreements, reached in 2013 and 2015 under EU facilitation. However, the deal has not yet been fully applied due to technical issues, according to Peter Stano, a European Commission spokesperson, Radio Free Europe has reported.
Stano: The roadmap has not yet been applied due to technical issues
The roadmap, which involves issuing a license to the subsidiary of Serbian state-owned power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) called Elektrosever to supply electricity in the Serb-majority municipalities, is expected to ensure that consumers in northern Kosovo* start paying for the electricity they use.
According to Belgrade’s chief negotiator Petar Petković, the deal means the north of Kosovo* will again be supplied with electricity from central Serbia, but that consumers will not be required to pay any electricity debts, and will be billed only after they sign contracts with Elektrosever.
The unpaid bills in the northern municipalities used to be covered through electricity bills charged to consumers in other parts of Kosovo*, which were 3.5% higher, but that practice has been ruled unlawful, according to Radio Free Europe.
Kosovo* officials say Elektrosever has been issued a license
As for the delay in the implementation of the agreed roadmap, Kosovo* officials say that Elektrosever has been issued a license, but that the company has not yet fulfilled its obligation to provide data on consumers in the north of Kosovo*.