Minister of Economy of Kosovo* Artane Rizvanolli urged citizens to save energy and proposed a public debate on how much they are willing to pay for electricity imports amid shortages expected during the winter.
The upcoming winter will be difficult, not only for Kosovo* but also for countries like Germany and Britain, which are preparing for electricity shortages, Minister of Economy Artane Rizvanolli told reporters. “We are looking at all the possibilities for citizens and businesses to save and use alternative means for heating. We all must do our best,” she stressed and noted that last week the government introduced energy-saving measures in the public sector.
Market prices of electricity reached as much as EUR 1,000 per MWh, she warned. “The countries in the region have opted to buy electricity regardless of the market price. Albania, for example, has spent half a billion euros since the beginning of the energy crisis. You, the media, can play a role in starting a discussion with citizens about the price that they are willing to pay for imported electricity,” Rizvanolli underscored.
If the consumer doesn’t pay the bill, the taxpayer will pay through the state budget, she pointed out. In the best case, the difference between the domestic power production capacity and demand will be up to 500 MW in the winter, according to the minister.
Power import funds dried out
Kosovo* often conducts rolling blackouts, especially since a series of breakdowns that began late last year in its only two coal-fired power plants, which account for almost all domestic electricity output.
Distribution system operator KEDS has warned that it lacks the financial means to buy electricity from abroad.
Rizvanolli: If the consumer doesn’t pay the bill, the taxpayer will pay through the state budget
Speaking during her visit to coal power plant Kosovo A, operated by government-controlled coal and power utility Kosovo Energy Corp. (KEK), Rizvanolli said unit A3 is back online after an outage. A5 is in reserve and the overhaul of A4 should be completed in early October while Kosovo B currently operates with two units, she added.
KEK’s Chief Executive Officer Nagip Krasniqi said the two plants have a total of 760 MW in active capacity.
Crisis measures similar to rest of Western Balkans
The government is negotiating with North Macedonia, Bulgaria and Greece on possible purchases of electricity or exchange deals, Rizvanolli revealed. KEK said it expects to export 100,000 tons of coal for EUR 3 million through an ongoing tender.
Of note, Kosovo* has just banned the exports of wood-based fuels including pellets, mirroring the measures taken by other countries in the Western Balkans.
The strict rules for savings in the public sector are also similar. For instance, one in three lamps on roads must be turned off and decorative lighting is banned, and so is the use of electric devices and air conditioners in public institutions, if there is no other option for heating. Kosovo* adopted emergency measures in electricity supply last month.