Illustration: BIRN

Kosovo Allocates 40 Million Euros for Serbs’ Unpaid Electricity

Government on Wednesday allocates another 40 million euros for unpaid energy bills in the four Serb-majority municipalities in the north, to honour its obligations to the European network for energy transmission.

The Kosovo government has allocated €40 million to cover unpaid electricity in the four Serb-dominated municipalities in the north. The funds will be allocated to the Kosovo Energy Distribution and Supply Company, KOSTT.

Kosovo’s Minister of Finance and Transfers, Hekuran Murati, said the funds would be allocated to extend an agreement with ENTSO-E, the European Network for Transmission System Operators for Electricity, and to respect the obligations stemming from this agreement.

“The KOSTT is going through financial difficulties because of obligations it has toward ENTSO; in order for us to continue to be on the same regulatory bloc and to implement the agreement that has been in place for two years, now is the time to extend it,” Murati said.

The KOSTT began to operate independently from Serbian operator EMS across the whole of Kosovo in December 2020 and then became part of ENTSO-E in a joint energy bloc with Albania.

Kosovo’s Minister of Economy, Artane Rizvanolli, said the money will cover the debt owed for electricity in the Serb-majority north until November 2022, when the municipalities are supposed to pay the bills themselves in line with a road map agreed between Kosovo and Serbia on energy.

Since after Kosovo war in 1999, the four Serb-dominated municipalities have not paid for their electricity. Since 2017, KOSTT has been responsible of paying the energy for the four municipalities. KOSTT claims that in 2021 alone, the four municipalities ran up a debt of 40 million euros.

On June 21, Kosovo and Serbia agreed on a road map on energy agreements reached in 2013 and 2015.  According to the road map, the Kosovo Energy Regulatory Office would issue a supply licence to Drustvo Elektrosever, a subsidiary in Kosovo of Serbia’s state-run energy company Elektroprivreda Srbije, “in accordance with Kosovo’s legal and regulatory framework”.

Within ten days of the licence being issued, Drustvo Elektrosever “will sign the necessary technical agreements with KOSTT and KEDS [the Kosovo Energy Distribution and Supply Company] to operate in Kosovo energy market”.

Economy minister Rizvanolli said that “Kosovo institutions have made all the attempts to realize the agreement”. The agreements allow Drustvo Elektrosever “to provide distribution services (billing, collection, maintenance and physical connection of new customers) in the four northern Serb-majority municipalities”.

However, Elektrosever has not so far provided the necessary information on consumption in the Serb-majority northern municipalities, making it impossible to move forward.

EU spokesperson Peter Stano told BIRN that “delays on implementing the road map are for technical reasons”, adding that the EU is offering assistance to all parties on how to address the problems.

Stano said that KOSTT and Elektrosever are in contact with each other, the EU and the US. He also said the EU is only a mediator in Kosovo-Serbia negotiations and responsibility for implementation falls to the two countries.

and 11/08/2022 - 12:18

11 August 2022 - 12:18

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