Government postpones the liberalization of the energy market, EEU reduces deadlines

Government postpones the liberalization of the energy market, EEU reduces deadlines

Skopje, April 30, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

The liberalization of the electricity market has sparked debates in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. This process is being demanded, but the government is dragging it out.

European Energy Union has given two months time to the government to carry out a full liberalization of the electricity market.

“The government’s decision to postpone the full opening of the electricity market and the inability of consumers to choose their power supplier comes as a result of the refusal of the current government, which doesn’t accept its obligations as a country which has signed the agreement for the energy union as part of the EU legislative. This refusal trend is clearly seen and it’s being manifested through the violation of agreement regulations”, says the EEU Secretariat about the case with FYROM.

This opinion further says that the bill on energy adopted in October 2014 doesn’t allow small businesses and households to choose their power supplier and they are obliged to continue and be supplied by the current company “EVN Macedonia” which holds the monopoly of electricity.

EEU demands from FYROM to fully liberalize the energy market within a period of two months, an obligation which should have taken effect in January 2015.

But the government has analyzed the process of the liberalization of the electric energy market and decided for the liberalization to take place in 18 months.

Economy Minister, Bekim Neziri says that FYROM is one of the countries with the highest level of liberalized energy market in the region.

“We do not back the option of fully liberalizing the electricity market, because this would increase the price of power supply for households. Even now, we can see that consumers pay a high price and have decided to postpone the process of liberalization for a period of 18 months. We have prepared a team of experts and we’re constantly carrying out analysis for the effects that liberalization will have. We believe that our decision is in compliance with the demands of the citizens”, said minister Bekim Neziri.

When asked by IBNA on this topic, opposition party SDSM (Macedonian Social Democratic League) said that the government must respect the EEU recommendations and liberalize the market during the next two months.

“Price of power supply for households cannot be protected by not complying with the European Union agreements, but by boosting domestic energy production, by reducing the import of power supply and by optimally exploiting local capacities. The liberalization of the market is a process which offers an opportunity for low prices and which doesn’t leave room for manipulation and corruption”, SDSM says.

The citizens want liberalization to take place, because they believe that this is the only way that there can be competition in terms of prices.

Economist Velko S told IBNA that liberalization must take place, because consumer prices must go down, especially for those consumers who pay enormous bills. “As consumers, we currently pay high bills and Macedonia is one of the countries with the highest prices. EU countries pay an average electricity price, while we pay higher prices than them. This is why we demand the liberalization of market, because competition will rise and the monopoly of the market and price will be removed”, says Velko S.

The suspension of the process of the liberalization of the market took place when several large domestic companies signed contracts with energy companies, especially EVN to be supply power with prices 30% lower. /ibna/