Bosnia's EPBiH cuts power exports due to cold

, Uncategorized

Top Bosnian power utility EPBiH cut power exports on Tuesday as cold and heavy snow sent local demand soaring and strained coal reserves.

A cold spell has hit the Balkans in the past two weeks and has lifted power consumption to record highs across the region, forcing its utilities to boost imports to meet soaring demand.

“EPBiH has called off agreed power exports and is focused on the situation inside the country,” company spokeswoman Midheta Kurspahic said.

“Our coal inventories are falling, and heavy snowall is making difficult the transport of new quantities. In addition to that, the lowest water levels in 60 years have forced us to rely mainly on coal-fired capacity,” she said.

Last year the utility picked Serbian energy trader Rudnap Group and Repower Adria, the local branch of Swiss trader Repower, to buy 878 GWh slated for export, or less than half of its planned surplus in 2012.

The cut in power exports also may put at risk Bosnia’s smallest power utility, EPHZHB, which has a deal to buy power from Rudnap and supply the country’s sole aluminium smelter, Aluminij Mostar.

Nermin Niksic, the prime minister of Bosnia’s Muslim-Croat federation where EPBiH, EPHZHB and Aluminij Mostar are located, said resumption of power exports depended on weather conditions.

“This has caused a chain reaction … Aluminij is now not in a viable position regarding the continuation of production,” he told Reuters.

The snow has caused blackouts across Bosnia, where at least 15,000 consumers have been left without power in remote regions, and emergency services have been struggling to restore electricity.

In neighbouring Serbia, consumption has reached a record high of 162 GWh a day, power utility EPS said, adding that it was importing 14 GWh per day to meet demand and had urged consumers to conserve energy.

Bosnia produces 40 percent of its energy from hydro-power, but a prolonged drought has siginificantly lowered output. The remainder of its electricity is generated by ageing coal-fired plants.

Source Reuters