With Russian Gas, BEG Wants to “Heat” Skopje with Three Times More Expensive Heating
About 56,000 users of central heating in Skopje from 1 January could receive enormously increased bills, as BEG submitted a request to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to increase the price of district heating by 300 percent. Balkan Energy Group is defending this increase with the huge increase in natural gas prices on world stock exchanges in the past period. However, the Regulator is not expected to accept this proposal.
ERC confirms that such a request has arrived from BEG, but the increase in the heating bills of the citizens of Skopje is yet to be determined. The regulators will ask BEG for evidence on the price at which the natural gas will be procured, which in turn is used as fuel for the operation of the Skopje heating plants in the production of thermal energy.
BEG said in a statement that the companies submit costs to the ERC and based on those costs, the ERC determines the price for the final consumers.
Moreover, the country has built a gas pipeline connection only with Bulgaria, where all quantities of natural gas arriving are from Russia.
“Makpetrol”, the company that manages the pipeline, announced this afternoon that they had signed an agreement with the Russian state-owned company “Gazprom”, thus providing the necessary quantities of gas for the Macedonian market. They explain that the price of gas is 30 percent lower than the stock market price, but also add that “Makpetrol” supplies gas to some of the companies that provide central heating for citizens, but BEG is not one of their customers.
The Energy Regulatory Commission at the end of July last year made decisions that reduce by an average of 4 percent the final price of delivered heat to the three companies in the city of Skopje. Meanwhile, the global energy crisis hit Europe this fall with a huge rise in electricity and gas prices, with some Eastern European countries already accusing Russia of using gas as a weapon.
Poland this week accused Moscow of halting its deliveries via the Yamal-Europe pipeline, accusing “Gazprom” of “manipulation”.
The Ukrainian gas operator said a few days ago that Russia was sending less gas to Europe via Ukraine than agreed in the transit agreement. “Gazprom” and Ukraine signed a five-year agreement on the transit of Russian gas to Europe at the end of 2019, reports Deutsche Welle.
Moldova declared a state of emergency last winter, after receiving a proposal from Russia to triple the price of natural gas, i.e. from 1 January 2022 to receive gas at a price of 790 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters. The EU has described Moscow’s proposal as pressure on pro-European policies pursued by Moldovan President Maia Sandu.
In contrast, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučič has been in direct talks with Vladimir Putin over the price of natural gas that Serbia will receive from 1 January. In October, Moscow offered Serbia a price of $ 790 per 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas, after which Vučič held face-to-face talks in Sochi with Putin and managed to persuade the price of gas for Serbia in the next six months to be 270 dollars for 1,000 cubic meters, reports the newspaper Danas and the BBC program in the Serbian language.
However, Serbian authorities have not clarified how President Vučič managed to persuade Russia to triple the price of gas originally proposed by Moscow.