Energy Crisis

Serbia doesn’t have enough coal for winter, trade unionist from EPS warns

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Published

August 15, 2022

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Published:

August 15, 2022

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Electricity production in Serbia reached a critical point and the supply for the upcoming winter is uncertain, according to Dragoslav Ljubičić from the energy and mining branch of the Nezavisnost trade union.

“There is no hope: Whoever is optimistic that there would be electricity in the winter will be sobered by this video. There is no coal,” Dragoslav Ljubičić wrote on Twitter. To support his claim, he added a video of the coal stockpile at TENT A, Serbia’s biggest thermal power plant, where he works since the early 1990s.

The production of electricity in the country has reached “a critical level” and the supply for the upcoming winter is uncertain, Ljubičić said. He is a high-ranking member of the energy and mining branch of the Nezavisnost trade union. He cited the delays over the past four or five years in stripping the overburden, the layers of soil above coal, as well as “the disastrous hydrological situation.”

A combination of delays in operations at open pit coal mines and the steep drop in water flow in the hydropower system is jeopardizing electricity production in Serbia

Namely, the water flow in Serbia’s hydropower system has dropped by half, which increased the need for electricity imports. However, volumes in reservoirs are low throughout Europe as well.

“To make matters worse, with its decisions to alter the positive rulings regarding the lawsuits of shift workers (in production), the justice system (Supreme Court of Cassation) is additionally reducing the facilities’ preparedness by completely eroding the workplace discipline and the discipline in the technical and technological sense. It’s a looming cataclysm,” Ljubičić stressed.

Negotiations to purchase coal from Bulgaria and Romania and use river barges to transport it have failed

President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić said last week that the country had 813,000 tons of coal stockpiled at that moment. He warned the consumption grows to as much as 115,000 tons a day in the winter, but also expressed confidence that the available amount of the solid fuel would be increased to a level where it can satisfy the needs of thermal power plants for 40 days.

The price of electricity has gone “sky high,” Vučić underscored. “It will have catastrophic consequences for us during the winter,” he said and added that the negotiations with Bulgaria and Romania to purchase coal and use river barges to transport it have failed “over various excuses.”

“We are continuing to buy everywhere we can, whatever we can,” the president revealed. Coal and electricity producer Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) and gas company Srbijagas, both controlled by the government, are in a “bad condition,” he acknowledged. “But the Serb state is in an overall good condition. We are buying that as a state,” Vučić asserted.

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