The drought in Serbia has created many problems. Since the beginning of the year, the hydro power plant production has dropped by 10% and the water accumulation level is lower than expected. Experts are speaking of the forthcoming energy crisis, which will result in electric power imports. More from Tamara Prodanović.
Serbia is in for an energy crisis, so certain quantity of electric power will have to be imported this year. The Serbian government is currently revising export assessments given by ’’Elektroprivreda Srbije’’ (Serbian Power Supply Company). Experts believe Serbia will have to start importing electricity as early as in September, at a price considerably higher than the present one, and imports could rise by one fifth. The government will also have to subsidize electric power prices for households. A question remains how to compensate for the price difference. According to experts, the good thing is that Serbia will be purchasing electricity with no mediators and thereby eliminate any mediation fees. In addition to drought, another negative factor was poor planning as there was not change in the electric power balance and the accumulated power was spent as early as in February and March. Social identification cards for poor citizens are to be published soon and they will have benefits when it comes to paying for the electric power. The Ministry of Energy is to form a working group in order to resolve the public company debt problem.
Even if the drought stops, the EPS will not be able to produce enough electricity for the national market this year. Hydro power plants produce some 22.7 kilowatt hours, which does not suffice to cover local consumption. The lack is compensated with thermal power plant production, which amounts to some 60 million kilowatt hours daily. In Belgrade alone, there are another 15,000 new consumers, so power consumption, accompanied by system problems, has grown by more than 20%. Therefore the construction of new and the overhaul of old energy plants in Belgrade continued as soon as weather conditions permitted so. 500 million dinars have been set aside for plant maintenance and 1.2 billion for investments. Under way are works on three large-scale projects in the capital – medium voltage transformer stations in Surcin and Novi Beograd respectively and a high voltage transformer station in Vozdovac.
The power crisis has struck the whole of southeastern Europe. The summer power consumption rise is currently being successfully covered with imports from Slovenia, Hungary and, partly, Bulgaria. However, if the drought persist, due to the low river and water accumulation levels, in autumn and winter the whole region could face serious problems in electric power supplies, which would lead to a rise in electric power prices at the regional and European markets. For instance, one of the major regional energy exporters, Romanian company’’Hidroelektrika’’, has cancelled all the export-oriented sales due to the low water level. Analysts assess tha the Balkans will face a serious problem in the winter season if there are not enought precipitations meanwhile and, in that case, supplies will solely depend on the work of major thermal power plants.