Serbian media informed that currently there are not enough coal for electricity production in stock of the country’s largest thermal power plant complex Nikola Tesla (TENT), which is why Serbia could face power cuts in the forthcoming winter.
The source claims that coal reserves at TENT are very low at the moment (about 400,000 tons, while normally it should be over 1.5 million tons) and if this situation continues, it is uncertain that power utility EPS will be able to provide enough electricity for the next winter season, without turning to importing expensive electricity during peak hours. According to source, there are no vital parts necessary for maintain the equipment at Kolubara mining basin, and the effect of loans that should be provided by the state will be visible in only a few years, leaving EPS in dire situation during this winter.
The source also said that Kolubara coalmine has been providing TENT with lower quality coal for months, which is evident by increased consumption of fuel oil in the last few months, because when coal is not of sufficient quality, fuel oil is added to the mix. Another fraud is to mix the coal with overburden and other non-coal material in order to increase the excavated tonnage and thus formally fulfill the production plan.
Last week, Acting Director of EPS Milorad Grcic said that there is enough coal for production of electricity although coal production at Kolubara is 5.6 % lower than planned in the first quarter of the year, adding that electricity and coal prices will not be increased. He explained that there were some unforeseen problems at the open pit mines in Kolubara, as landslide appeared due to some cracks in the mass and as a result of that some expensive equipment had to be moved. In the meantime, landslide was mitigated, the equipment has been returned and the production at Kolubara coalmines has been stabilized. The coal stocks of thermal power plants are filling and exceed 600,000 tons.
Following the media reports, EPS officially denied allegations that Serbia could face power cuts due to lack of coal, stating that reports that there are only 400,000 tons of this resource in TENT’s stock are incorrect, claiming that the amount of coal reserves currently exceed one million tons. The statement from the company also refuted other allegations that parts for the maintenance of machinery are lacking and that the coal provided by Kolubara coalmines is of low quality.