Serbia, There is no expert who can reform energy companies

, News Serbia Energy

There is no expert who can reform energy companies in Serbia if he is not autonomous in making decisions, said Željko Marković, leader for energy at the Deloitte consulting firm, today.

“If an expert is not autonomous in making business decisions, he cannot do what he should. In order to allow autonomy, political will is needed”, Marković told Beta, on the occasion of the announcement by the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, that, for the development of the energy development strategy, sector, hire Norwegian experts for advisory services.

A few days ago, during his visit to Norway, Vučić said that Serbia will listen to the advice of Norwegian experts on how to introduce changes in the energy system, because as he said”, we don’t know how to do that”.

“We don’t know that, don’t be angry, but we don’t know, because if we haven’t been able to do something for 60 years, if you think we will in a year or two, it’s impossible. But it’s good that we have someone to learn from, like the International monetary fund (IMF), someone to control us so that we don’t spend more than necessary”, said Vučić.

The President of Serbia added that he is proud that Serbia will listen to Norway, whose experts said that out of four energy companies, good management exists in only one, because this means that “they don’t care about keeping Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) in order to have money for the party”.

“I don’t see why Norwegian experts would be at an advantage when it comes to choosing management for domestic energy companies, unless it is because energy companies in that country are mostly state-owned like in Serbia”, said Marković.

Marković, who spent 19 years in EPS, where he also worked as director of the Distribution Directorate and director of Supply, said that there are other experts in the EU, including in Serbia, but “they were not given a chance”.

The proof that there are energy experts in Serbia, as he said, is that local experts in the past built almost all energy capacities themselves. According to him, they are created in those companies and managers who are able to lead them successfully can be chosen from them through proper selection.

The problem, as he assessed, is that the choice of experts for energy companies is not always in accordance with the profession, but has other influences.

“Whoever comes to the head of a company from the energy sector will not be able to make them efficient if the state does not change their way of management. First, experts must have many times higher salaries, and four to five times more than they have today, then they must determine whether there are surplus employees, and they were employed in EPS even when the employment ban was in force, and some were brought in who were not necessary”, said Marković.

He added that the excess of employees reduces the efficiency of the company, as well as the uneconomic price of electricity, but that the problem is that no government likes layoffs.

According to him, the competition for an expert must contain precise requirements on education and work experience and a proven curriculum vitae, while the appointment of an acting director without a competition provides the opportunity to bring in a suitable candidate.

“When the director of EPS, Aleksandar Obradović, was replaced in 2016, a competition was announced in which I also participated, but for unknown reasons, that competition was never implemented, and the applications were returned to us unopened, and Milorad Grcic was appointed acting director”, said Marković and added that the tender for that company is being announced by the Ministry of Economy.

He also said that EPS will need a lot of money for investments, and in order to secure that money, it is necessary to turn it into a profitable company that would direct the realized profit into investments for the expansion of production and decarbonization, instead of paying that money into budget, Beta writes.