By Besiana Xharra
Kosovo Energy Corporation is continuing its policy of cutting electricity to homes which owe little more than 150 euro, while ignoring those with debts in excess of 400,000 euro.
According to information obtained by Balkan Insight, claims by KEK that no-one will be spared in its attempts to rein in the firm’s debt of 350 million euro are proving hollow.
The publicly owned firm has refused to speak about its debtors publicly, but Balkan Insight has learnt from sources inside the organisation that its ten largest debtors, major companies and state institutions, owe in excess of 2 million euro.
These include a state-run water processing plant in Mitrovica, which is 436,000 euro behind in its payments, and the Llamkos Steel processing plant in Vushtrri, which has debts of 111,000 euro.
These companies and institutions continue to be provided with electricity, while KEK has a policy of cutting off homes with more than 150 euro debt.
KEK officials refused to answer questions on why it was ignoring its major debtors while targeting homeowners.
Berat Rukiqi, secretary of the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce, says that KEK has failed to devise a strategy to recoup its huge debt.
“In the absence of a strategy for collection, the debt to KEK is now hundreds of millions of euros, which is destroying KEK,” said Rukiqi.
Burim Ramadani, secretary of the opposition Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, said that the reason why major debtors are not affected is because they are associated with politicians.
“There is no way that these companies would still have electricity with all this debt if they didn’t have any political support,” he said.
Myzejene Selmani, former head of the parliamentary energy commission and member of the governing New Kosovo Alliance, said the problem was poor management, not political collusion.
“This shows that KEK targets only those who have no power, the citizens of Kosovo who owe only 100 euro, meanwhile KEK can’t cut [electricity] to those who have thousands of euros of debt. This way of managing must be stopped,” she said.
Debt to KEK has reached more than 350 million euro, of which unpaid bills from the Serb community, many of whom have refused to cooperate with Kosovo’s authorities, is 125 million euro.
Six Biggest Debtors to KEK:
Water supply plant in Mitrovica with 436,000 euro
Hotel Narcis in Strpce with 403,000 euro
Water pump in Zhur, Prizren, with 278,000 euro
Hotel Molika in Strpce with 229,000 euro
Water pump in Golesh with 135,000 euro
Llamkos Steel L.L.C in Vushtrri with 111,000 euro