According to Serbian media, state-owned power utility EPS recorded a loss in the amount of 418 million euros in the first half of 2022.
Between January and September 2021, EPS recorded a net profit of some 72 million euros, but in the next nine months, losses amounted to around 610 million euros, with 185 million euros loss in the last quarter of 2021 and 418 million euros loss in the first half of this year.
Total financial debt of the Serbian largest energy company stood at around 1.5 billion euros at the end of June 2022, which is by 255 million euros more compared to the beginning of the year.
The main reason for such huge losses is decreased electricity generation and subsequent imports at extremely high prices. Namely, EPS’ electricity generation in the first half of 2022 dropped by 16 % compared to the same period last year. Electricity generation from renewable sources was 56 % lower, while production at coal-fired thermal power plants dropped by 9 %. This was somewhat mitigated by increased generation of Novi Sad based gas-fired plant (+ 56 %), however at the very high cost – gas purchases amounted to 31.5 million euros.
EPS also started importing coal, mostly from Montenegro, for which it spent around 9.5 million euros in the first half of 2022.
However, by far most costly item is imported electricity – in H1 2022 EPS imported 2,356 GWh of electricity at the average price of 222 euros/ MWh, which amounts to more than 520 million euros.
The loss due to bad management and untimely mining of coal is measured not only by the cost of importing expensive electricity due to the lack of own production, but also by the lost profit that it would have had if it had exported electricity at such high prices on the foreign markets.
In the last three years, from 2019 to 2021, the average annual export of EPS was around 4,300 GWh of electricity. Last year, for example, 5,400 GWh were imported and 4,800 GWh were exported.
Given that there is almost no revenues from exports this year, except for the electricity that was returned to ERS in the Republic of Srpska (about 20 million euros for the first six months), the question arises how much money they would have earned if the thermal power plants had worked at their usual capacity as in the previous three years.
It should also be pointed out that production, especially for export, is also affected by the operation of hydropower plants, which are not working at full capacity this year due to the drought.