Ymer Fejzullahu, chairman of the board of the Kosovo Energy Regulatory Office. Photo: BIRN

North Kosovo Households Start Signing Energy Contracts

The chairman of the board of the Kosovo Energy Regulatory Office, Ymer Fejzullahu, told the TV program Kallxo Përnime that a quarter of households in the four Serb majority municipalities in the north of Kosovo have signed contracts for the payment of electricity, the first time they’ve done so since the war.

A quarter of the households in the four Serbian-majority municipalities in the north of Kosovo have agreed to sign contracts with the company “Elektrosever”, a company licensed by the Energy Regulatory Office, ERO, according to a Kosovo-Serbia energy deal. 

“This is the third month that they have started handing out bills to the four municipalities. The process is pleasing. 25% of households have agreed to sign contracts with ‘Elektrosever’ and we hope that most of them will sign in the following days,” Ymer Fejzullahu, chairman of the board of ERO, told Kallxo Përnime during the April 14 broadcast.

He called the electricity billing process “satisfactory” in the four municipalities with a Serbian majority, Leposaviq, Zubin Potok, Zveçan and North Mitrovica, which are located in the northern part of the country. 

Fejzullahu pointed out that in the first month fixed electricity bills were sent to the citizens. 

On March 1 of this year, Elektrosever told Kosovo public broadcaster Radio Television of Kosovo, RTK, that electricity consumers in the four northern municipalities will be billed at a flat rate of 21 euros and 60 cents each per month.

“With a payment in the amount of 21.60 euros, a supply agreement with the company Elektrosever will be considered to have been concluded. Elektrosever officials will bring the electricity supply agreements to the citizens for signature,” Elektrosever told RTK.

Based on the 2013 Brussels Agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, and regulated by the so-called Energy Road Map of 2022, the company Elektrosever will provide electricity distribution services in the four northern Serb-majority municipalities. The company was established under Kosovo law in 2013, but was only granted a licence in 2022 and started operating recently.

The head of ERO, Fejzullahu, said that the Kosovo Energy Corporation, KEK, has the right to require payment for unpaid debts from the citizens of four municipalities for non-payment of electricity. 

According to him, “there were citizens who wanted to pay for the energy that they spent” but KEK was unable to send electricity bills to these municipalities. 

Until now, residents of the four northern municipalities had not paid for their electricity since the end of the war in Kosovo in 1999, when Serbia lost control over its former province. Since the beginning of March 2024, customers are being billed for electricity use in the four municipalities for the first time in over two decades.

Kosovo’s government paid for the electricity in the north from 2017 to 2023, because in 2017 the Kosovo Constitutional Court ruled that it was a human rights violation for the electricity bills of residents in the four municipalities  to be paid for by including the cost  in the electricity bills of all other Kosovo consumers. Since then, the cost to the Kosovo government of paying for the four municipalities’ electricity has been estimated at around 12 million euros a year.

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti claimed in February 2023 that the electricity used by the four municipalities in the north had cost Kosovo about “320 million euros” since 1999.

In October 2023, Kurti’s government announced it would stop paying for the electricity in the four municipalities. In mid March 2024, Kosovo’s Constitutional Court ruled that people around the country should be compensated for having been made to subsidise electricity supplies that were not paid for by consumers in four Serb-majority municipalities from 2012 to 2017. 

In early April, ERO decided to implement the compensation, to consumers whose payments between 2012 and 2017 can be verified, by deducting monthly energy bills from June 2024 until February 2030

This article has been translated from Albanian to English by Teuta Bojkaj.

and 15/04/2024 - 17:55

15 April 2024 - 17:55

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