By Linda Karadaku for Southeast European Times in Pristina — 04/01/12

”]As Kosovo citizens face chronic outages, often lasting for hours at a time, the Kosovo Power Company (KEK) acknowledges an imbalance between supply and demand. It insists, however, that the situation is “stable enough”.

KEK director Arben Gjukaj told SETimesthat Kosovo produces about 750 megawatts per hour and imports up to 270 megawatts per hour, but from no specific country. “KEK does it through commercial companies which compete in an open tender,” Gjukaj said.

Economic analyst Ibrahim Rexhepi explains the deficit is the result of several factors: insufficient production, increased demand in the winter months and bills that go unpaid.

“The technical and commercial losses account for about 40% of the produced amount. [Shortfalls] are also the [result of the] weak distribution network, which does not have the power to transmit the whole amount necessary for consumers,” Rexhepi told SETimes.

In the north, the situation is no better. Krstimir Pantic, the Serb mayor of Mitrovica, told SETimesthat while they don’t have power supply shortages, “voltage is very, very low”.

Serbian national radio Glas Srbije reported at the end of November that due to the breakdown of the power line that supplies northern Kosovo from the Novi Pazar line, the power supply situation has deteriorated.

Radoje Kreckovic, director of the power distribution company in northern Mitrovica, said northern Kosovo is supplied by only the 110 kWh Novi Pazar line, which is under the jurisdiction of the Serbian power corporation.

Kreckovic stressed that the power supply system in the north is especially vulnerable: “We depend on only [that] one power line and a single power station. If we had any alternative solutions, these problems would be much easier to solve.”

KEK’s Gjukaj complains of a complicating factor served up by Serbia’s Power Company (EPS) and Serbia’s Power Distribution Network in northern Kosovo “which operate illegally in that part due to the security situation that reigns there”.

“The northern part of the country is supplied with power from KEK, as in the rest of the country,” he says, noting that nearly 4% of KEK’s capacity is distributed to the north but is not being paid for.

Rexhepi says that the power systems are interconnected, exchanging energy and information about the situation and any problems that appear. “But the relation with Serbia is different. Until a few months ago, it had ownership of the transmission network and it applied a special tax for the import, export or power transit through that transmission network. Even for the use of this network, the companies had to get permission in Belgrade,” Rexhepi told SETimes.

“The problems we face [involving] the balance of power, import and exchange of power, are the limitations in the allocated capacities which, based on what we are told, are caused [by] Serbia,” Gjukaj said.

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