Citizens criticize the claims of the Albanian government about the reasons for higher electricity prices

Citizens criticize the claims of the Albanian government about the reasons for higher electricity prices

IBNA Special Report

Tirana, November 4, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

Albanian government has announced a new price for electricity which will be an average of the two current prices of 7.7 and 13.5 ALL. The accurate figure has not yet been made public. The decision is expected to be announced next month by the Power Regulatory Authority. The latter has recently received requests for price increases by the Albanian Power Corporation (KESH), which is the producer of energy, Transmission System Operator (OST) and Distribution of Electric Energy Operator (OSHEE), which distributes power supply to consumers in Albania.

Currently, the first 300 kilowatts are charged at 7.7 ALL plus VAT of 20% and the bill includes other monthly service charges too. Double price is charged over this threshold. Data show that nearly 65% of the population only consumes the first 300 kilowatts.

The left promised a reduction in power supply bills

The Socialist Party that leads today’s governing majority, had often criticized the high cost of power supply that consumers had to pay before it came in power, claiming that it was higher than in many countries of the region and Europe. In its electoral program, the left promised a reduction of VAT on power supply bills from 20% to 6% for households. So far, this promise has not been delivered.

At the present, the opposition is launching strong accusations toward the majority for not delivering the promise that led to its victory and for further increasing living costs for the citizens.

Public reactions: We feel insulted

The general public has not received very well the increase of the price of electricity. What’s more, the comment that Premier Edi Rama offers is considered as unacceptable and abusive: “It’s not normal and it’s insulting that the PM says that the 300 kw/hour threshold is being removed because it’s an instrument of abuse and theft by the citizens. If the PM has found thieves, let him put them in prison, but he must not generalize the people and even worse, insult our intelligence by saying that the threshold is being removed in order not to have abuses with the power supply and not to have a price increase”, says Andon, a 56 year old teacher from Tirana.

He also makes an estimate of the expected increase of price. “In my family with two members, we pay an average of 4000 ALL (35 Euros). Out of this, the first 300 kilowatts are charged at 2772 ALL incl. VAT. The other 50 kilowatts are charged at 810 ALL and the whole bill amounts to 3582 ALL. If the first threshold is removed and the second price applies, we will pay 5670 ALL, which consists around 60 to 70% dearer. If we add the 800 ALL a month for joint lighting and TV fee, you can figure out yourself what sort of prices we have to pay”, says the public high school teacher in the capital. He is also angry about the fact that the government has ruled out any refund for the increase of electricity price.

There’s no refund for households

In the past few days, the prime minister said that there will be increases in pensions for heads of families and increases for disability allowances. Rama said that the rise will amount to “exactly the cost of the removal of the first threshold of the power supply charge”. The prime minister said that there will not be any concessions for the rest of the population.

Minister of Energy, Damian Gjiknuri offers details about social categories that are affected by the removal of the protective threshold, who will be subsidized through the increase of payments for each category.

“The government will be careful in order for the burden not to fall upon the population. There will be subsidies for pensioners. This will be done by increasing payments according to categories, in order for every kind of restructuring not to damage their budgets”, says minister Gjiknuri. /ibna/