Bekteshi: The government is negotiating an exchange of electricity for gas with Serbia and a competitive price of electricity for the economy with Bulgaria

Kreshnik Bekteshi, Minister of Economy / Photo: Screenshot

Negotiations are underway with Serbia on the exchange of gas for electricity, and if an agreement is reached, half of the electricity that will be produced in the TE-TO should remain for our needs, and the other half should be returned to the northern neighbor, announced the Minister of Economy Kreshnik Bekteshi.

- We have accepted this final offer and Serbia is seriously considering it. This proposal for energy exchange was initially proposed by Serbia, for which North Macedonia gave a final answer, and now we are waiting for an answer from the Serbian side, said Economy Minister Kreshnik Bekteshi in yesterday's 360 degree appearance on Alsat television.

-Neither North Macedonia will buy gas from Serbia, nor will Serbia in return buy electricity from the country. What is being negotiated is an exchange – that Serbia provides gas for the TE-TO power plant, and then part of the produced electricity is returned as compensation. If an agreement is reached, it is Serbia's obligation to supply the TPP with natural gas. We as a state have an obligation to provide them with electricity. I am more than sure that Serbia is considering our offer. The last offer is either 50-50 or 60-40 for us, specifies Bekteshi.

According to him, if this agreement is realized, the electricity produced in the TPP that will remain for the country will be offered on the domestic market.

- We are talking about exchange here. We, as a state, have an interest in having natural gas with a lower price, why, because we will have a lower price for thermal energy, as well as for electricity that we will be able to offer to the citizens. If the thermal power plant is not working, then 100 percent of the heat in Skopje should be produced in the East and West heating plants, Energetika and the Sever thermal plant in Chair, and if the thermal power plant is working, then 60 percent of the consumption in the entire city is covered by work only on the TE-TO and heating plants should cover only about 40 percent of those needs, Bekteshi clarified.

The TPP, he added, works only on natural gas, heating plants also work on gas and can work on diesel.

- Even now, even if the costs are reduced, it is in our interest to operate the thermal power plant and not increase the price, with lower prices of natural gas and electricity, we will offer part of it to Serbia and use part of it for our own needs. , be it for the needs of the industry, be it for other needs, we are talking about a capacity of 205 megawatt hours, Bekteshi pointed out.

Regarding the negotiations with Bulgaria for the purchase of electricity for the economy at a lower price, Bekteshi clarified that in the past weeks intensive negotiations were conducted with representatives from the Bulgarian side, and representatives from the European Commission and the European Energy Community were also included in the talks.

- From what was agreed, our country has permission from the European Commission for bilateral negotiations with member states of the Union. A solution is currently being sought for legislation in Bulgaria which stipulates that all electricity produced in the country must go to the stock market, but this can easily be changed by a decision from the Government or by-laws. If the Republic of Bulgaria accepts our offer for the purchase of electricity at a fixed price of 200 euros per megawatt hour, as much as our economy can bear, we can reach an agreement, but if they insist that we pay at the price that is on the stock market, we will not we agree and we will continue with our domestic capacities, Bekteshi pointed out.

I, the Minister of Economy emphasizes, will not accept to pay basic energy for the next seven months at the price that is currently on the stock exchanges.

- That is the position of the Government, we are negotiating with the Bulgarian side for a fixed price that will be until the end of April and not a fixed price only in peaks, but a fixed price for 24 hours. What does that mean – if the price is 200 euros, they will receive 200 euros per megawatt hour at night, and there are days when the electricity at night is no more than 100 euros, and during peaks during the day the price can reach 400 or 500 euros, but they will receive 200 euros, specifies Bekteshi.

He announced that today he and President Stevo Pendarovski are in Sofia where they will hold a meeting with the President of the EC, Ursula Von der Leyen, and with representatives of Bulgaria, at which this latest offer from the Macedonian side will be presented, primarily due to the fact that the price of electricity production in Bulgaria is under 100 euros per megawatt hour, and in the nuclear reactor in Kozloduy it is under 50 euros.

In relation to the negotiations with Turkey, Bekteshi informed that we have an offer for the purchase of electricity that has been submitted to the Chamber of Commerce with a price that is higher than their requirements ranging from 150 to 200 euros per megawatt hour.

- But the problem is that none of the interested companies guarantees us that if the price was, for example, 250 euros, that they would buy that electricity. If we pay in advance for 100 megawatts of electricity at a price of, for example, 250 euros, and if here our companies do not guarantee that they will buy it at that price, then the entire burden will fall on the state, and we cannot treat the budget like that the state. If they pay in advance, then we can provide certain quantities, said the minister.

Regarding the expectations for the price of electricity after the new year, he said that if the production plan from ESM is realized in the last quarter of the year, as well as the plan for the supply of various energy sources with prices that we currently have, then there will be no increase in the prices of electricity, but urged the citizens to save electricity in order to reduce the pressure on ESM

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