Serbia: EPS power utility damaged in supply business

, News Serbia Energy

Electric Power Industry of Serbia was robbed of tens of millions of euros, and more than 15 managers of “EPS Supply” (EPS Snabdevanje) have been dismissed, and criminal proceedings are just around the corner.

According to “Blic”, in one of the biggest corporate scandals it was discovered that the management of “EPS Snabdevanje” was increasing the index for the calculation of electricity for large consumers and state-owned companies by adding two more figures after decimal numbers of the defined amount, thus EPS lost many tenders making the price of electricity significantly higher than those offered by other suppliers primarily by a private company that got jobs.

In fact, the price of electricity was increased contrary to the defined price list, which is why EPS was less favorable in tenders, and in 2016 lost even 500 measuring points and almost 300 large consumers. Most consumers, opted for the company “Proenergy BGD”, a subsidiary of “Proenergy Croatia” owned by the Czech company “Ezpada”.

Comparing to EPS, “Proenergy BGD” was always more favorable in tenders precisely for these two added digits after the decimal. These activities dated back to the period when Aleksandar Obradovic was the general manager of EPS and Dragan Jeremic was the director of EPS Snabdevanje, reports Blic”.

Due to the suspicion it is about organized group that has damaged the company for tens of millions of euros, the whole case is investigated by the police, and chief officials of the state have been informed about it as well.

Acting General Manager of EPS, Milorad Grcic, has dismissed 15 managers of “EPS Snabdevanje”, including the Manager of joint project of EPS Group Vojin Trifunovic, Director of Strategic Account Sales Zoran Milasinovic, Head of Department for Power Purchasing Goran Bogdanovic, Head of Commercial Prediction and Offerings Division Boris Mandic, a Chief Sales Manager Mladjen Milesevic, a Lead Expert Associate for End Users Vukasin Jeremic. “Blic” reports that the one suspected not to be innocent in this activity is a former manager of “EPS Snabdevanje” Dragan Jeremic, who had been previously dismissed and left the company.

Belgrade newspaper source from “EPS Snabdevanje” claims that these irregularities were discovered by accident.

“It was requested to conduct the analysis about the cause of huge outflow of large and state-owned consumers in 2016 and why most of them had chosen the “Proenergy BGD”, which had lower price than EPS. It was unclear, because as per methodology our market price for the electricity calculation is most favourable. However, it turned out that it was not, as the analysis showed that someone has modified the prices adopted by the Executive Board in September 2015, by adding two digits on the adopted decimal numbers. The same has been done in most parameters, thus our price was higher than the competitive one. Therefore we have lost in tenders. There are indications that someone was informing “Proenergy BGD”, which always had lower prices for the difference in the genuine amount and the amount with added two decimal numbers”, said Blic interlocutor.

He added that the suspicion of organized robbery is heated by the procurement of software for the record keeping and billing of electricity.

“There are indications that this software, which was not compatible to the system, was purchased intentionally and was paid EUR 1.5 million so that the billing calculation would be performed manually and thus the fraud could have been freely carried out. Additional suspicion is caused by the fact that the roots of company “Proenergy BGD” reach to the Czech Republic, i.e. company “Ezpada”, and the former management had good cooperation with it and purchased electricity from the company”, said the source.

Source: Blic