Kosovo is rationing electricity

For about two weeks in Kosovo electricity is rationed because that produced on the national territory is insufficient and the costs for imports from abroad are too high. From 15 August the service has been interrupted every six hours, for two hours, with the exception of hospitals and some large industrial plants. The cuts are creating major problems for families and businesses, forced to rely on power generators both in the capital Pristina and in the rest of the territory.

With around 1.8 million inhabitants and one of the poorest economies on the continent, Kosovo is the first European country to have introduced these drastic measures to cope with its energy crisis, which has been significantly aggravated by theglobal increase in energy costs last year. Kosovo is a former Serbian province that proclaimed its independence in 2008, never recognized by Serbia.

According to the state-owned electricity company, KEDS, domestic energy production – which comes almost entirely from highly polluting coal-fired power plants – barely meets two-thirds of the demand. In this period, however, almost half of the plants are shut down for maintenance work in view of the winter, the period in which consumption tends to more or less double.

To try to solve the problem, in mid-August the government had reached an agreement for import electricity from neighboring Albania, a measure which, however, had not been sufficient to prevent the interruption of the service due to the large increase in energy costs, which had made imports unsustainable.

It is not the first time that Kosovo has been forced to resort to this type of electricity service cut. KEDS had already announced last December breaks of two hours in service due to the malfunction of one of the coal plants in the area. The government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti has been accused by political opponents of having done nothing to avoid the crisis.

Economy Minister Artane Rizvanolli said that the interruptions in the electricity service are attributable to inadequate investments made in the sector in recent years, which with the recent crisis have aggravated an already critical situation.

Always Rizvanolli, interviewed by Bloomberg, said things should start to improve as early as next week, when one of the plants that had been closed for maintenance returns to operation. However, Rizvanolli has made it known that she is concerned that the problem is destined to persist, both because the demand for energy in the country has grown, and because of the economic difficulties of families and the country in coping with the sharp rise in energy prices.

– Read also: There is still no agreement between Serbia and Kosovo

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