Serbia: Change of supplier rules and market practice

, SEE Energy News

Consumers dissatisfied with the current electricity and gas suppliers can freely change them within three weeks.

Consumers who do not have debts for electricity and gas, and are dissatisfied with the current supplier, will be able in the next three weeks to change suppliers and find someone more favorable. By the new Ordinance, the Energy Agency set out detailed conditions and procedures for changing suppliers and obligations of the old and new suppliers of these fuels.

In the agency explain that the households that want another electricity and gas supplier start crossing procedures by submitting the application, and then sign a contract with it. Everything is free, and they used existing installations and counters.

– When disgruntled consumers contacts a new supplier, which is believed to be more favorable for the price or the manner of delivery, only needs to inform his current seller that is no longer interested in his services – says Ljiljana Hadzibabic from the Energy Agency.

Hadzibabic says that customers pay energy bills once a month, but it can be arranged also a special regime of payment. The fact is, however, although it has been more than half a year since the opening of the electricity and gas markets for the citizens, households have not changed suppliers. They remained “faithful” to EPS supply, although 88 retailers have license to work in Serbia. Even after the increase in electricity prices from August 1st to about 12 percent, this public company remains the cheapest supplier.

It happened on the contrary, a private company “DOO Vukovic 1967” for trade and services Veternik has temporarily revoked license to operate, due to non-compliance with legal requirements for performing energy-related activities, to the detriment of customers that supplied with electricity.

The same situation is with gas. 33 licensed distributors supply households in Serbia, but those who buy gas at “Srbijagas” have not looking for a new supplier. The reason, says Vojislav Vuletic, President of Serbian Gas Association, is the lowest energy prices in “Srbijagas” and EPS.

The price in each case is crucial. Households will look for new supplier only if they know that there is a better offer from EPS, or Srbijagas, he says.

Each customer on the agency website can look who are licensed suppliers, and be informed about the pricing and delivery of electricity and gas.

Something is specifically agreed depending on the needs of the customer – says Hadzibabic.

Signing the contract obliges both the suppliers and distributors of gas and electricity that must guarantee regular and sufficient quantities of energy, according to the agreed terms and prices.

Vuletic recalls that from July 1st, 2015th, a natural gas price has been lower by an average of 11.2 percent for all customers who are eligible for public supply and 10.5 percent for household. And after that gas is again the cheapest in “Srbijagas”.

. – In Serbia, about 10 percent of households, that is, 250,000 customers are connected to the gas, which is about 25,000 more households than it was last year. They now pay on average cheaper cubic meter of gas for 0, 044 EUR (without VAT). The average monthly bill with VAT, at this price level decreased by about 3, 24 EUR- explains Vuletic.

Ljubinko Savic, Secretary of the Energy Chamber of Commerce of Serbia, says that it is not impossible that some of the gas or electricity buyers decide to change suppliers.

– There are private electricity traders that can provide lower price of kilowatt hours than EPS, especially when it comes to supplying large customers. This is not the rule for households. In Serbia already operate serious foreign companies that offer lower cost of electricity because the kilowatt-hours obtained from nuclear power plants, and it is the cheapest electricity, so they can sell it cheaper – he says.

The condition, he adds, is to be regular payers, because any private trader will tolerate non-payment of bills, as EPS still does it.

– When it comes to gas, it is much more difficult to expect that someone who is supplied with “Srbijagas” changes the suppliers, because this is a public company monopoly in the gas supply. When it would not be so any longer, also competition there will be greater and consequently distributors can offer lower prices then – says Savic.

NIS opened a mini-power plant in Sirakovo

The Oil Industry of Serbia has put into operation one more mini-power plant for the electricity and heat production on the oil and gas field in Sirakovo, near Veliko Gradiste. The investment is worth two MEUR, and the total power of the new plant is two-megawatt, said yesterday in the company. A total of three megawatts of electricity has been produced now on this oil-gas field since first NIS power plant of one megawatt has been put into operation on this location two years ago. “NIS now has a total of 13 mini-power plants that can produce the electricity and heat in Serbia. In them has been invested more than 15MEUR. Electricity production has reached power of 11.6 megawatts, enough to supply electricity on average to 10,000 households. Mini-plants are very important because they produce electricity and heat from gas that has not been used. Process of converting this gas into electricity has environmental dimension, since it is not burned any longer and thereby the emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere is reduced “, said Igor Korac, deputy director of the Energy Unit in NIS.