Prishtina, March 13, 2020 – Following the announcement of the Energy Regulatory Office for commercial consumers on the voltage level of 35 kV for their obligation that after March 31, 2020 to ensure the appropriate operator for energy supply with unregulated tariffs, American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo calls on Energy Regulatory Office, the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo and the Government of the Republic of Kosovo to undertake necessary legal measures to extend this deadline for indefinite time until proper circumstances that would enable energy liberalization are created.
Recalling the request filed a year ago and the decision of the Energy Regulatory Office to extend the deadline for liberalization for a year, AmCham Kosovo points out that over the past twelve month period none of the circumstances that would allow the proper implementation of legal acts which foresee energy liberalization, respectively supply of the abovementioned commercial consumers with energy with unregulated tariffs have changed.
Although several electricity supply operators have been licensed in Kosovo, it should be noted that only one of them has the capacity to function as a supplier of last resort. Under such circumstances of limited supply and obligation to move to a liberalized market, commercial consumers would face limited bargaining power as consumers, causing them to pay electricity tariffs higher than the average of adjusted tariffs. In these circumstances, there is a real possibility that the mentioned operator may abuse with its dominant position, thus violating the principles of a free market economy, which is the basis of the economic regulation of the Republic of Kosovo.
Such situation would aggravate a number of commercial consumers of manufacturing sector and consequently would be in opposition with the efforts for strengthening Kosovo’s manufacturing industry and improving trade balance, in a time when manufacturing enterprises are facing increased competitive pressure from international markets, as well as other legal and regulatory difficulties which prevent their empowerment. The implementation of this decision would worsen Kosovo’s supply for foreign investors.
American Chamber reiterates its concern that from preliminary negotiations with the current supplier, last year the possibility of a 30-70% increase in the price of electricity supply was announced, which implies that an enterprise which has an annual invoice of more than 1 million euros, subject to limited supply and the obligation to enter the liberalized market, would have to pay an additional amount of 300,000 – 700, 000 euros, while those consumers who fail to sign an agreement with the supplier could face an increase in energy prices of up to 200%. This undoubtedly, is in contradiction with the benefits of energy liberalization.
Finally, American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo reiterates its request for the Energy Regulatory Office to postpone the decision on energy liberalization until the electricity market has more functional operators, whereas the request of the aforementioned institutions will also be argued before the Energy Community Secretariat. In case if the Energy Regulatory Office fails to fulfill one of its essential objectives which is protecting the rights of consumers, the chambers of commerce urge the relevant parliamentary committee that supervises the ERO, as well as MPs of the Republic of Kosovo to demand from this regulatory institution to not make decisions that undermine the competitive advantages of manufacturing enterprises, and that hinder the private sector and foreign investors to operate in the Republic of Kosovo.