Kosovo to spur energy efficiency of vulnerable consumers
Date: July 19th 2022
Author: Visar Prebreza
In its newly-drafted energy strategy for the 2022-2031 period, Kosovo has introduced protection of vulnerable consumers for the first time by guaranteeing the affordability of their energy bills and supporting energy efficiency investments.Currently, Kosovo subsidizes families under social assistance programmes with around EUR 4.5m per year by covering a part of their energy bills. The government now aims to develop a new scheme for vulnerable consumers by 2024.
“Furthermore, by 2031 this will be advanced into a scheme based on a means test which will be linked to the reformed social assistance scheme,” the draft energy strategy says.
In addition to this, the government aims to establish more than two programmes which will support energy community projects aimed at energy efficiency and self-consumption by 2024, while by 2031 there should be over five such programmes.
The strategy foresees special programmes for households to help them cover the cost of insulating their homes and purchasing energy efficient equipment. A short-term measure to support the use of alternative sources for heating in order to reduce the use of electricity during the winter season is also included in the strategy.
As part of the government’s vision for consumer protection and acceleration of the energy transition, the draft strategy also foresees further empowering consumers by ensuring their active participation in the liberalized energy market and reducing pollution. The government thus aims to create the legal foundation for citizen-led energy communities and active consumers in line with the acquis communautaire and the best practices in EU member states.
No new costs for energy supplier
Viktor Buzhala, the spokesperson of Kosovo’s energy supply company Kesco, told Montel via email that the proposed reforms to the energy strategy are welcome. He added that according to the Energy Law, it’s up to Kosovo government to cover the cost of any new scheme for vulnerable consumers.
According to the Energy Law, “the difference between expenses and income from the supplier activity related to vulnerable consumers will be covered by the government, which aligns with the methodology for determining final tariffs.”.
Buzhala furthermore noted that under law a supplier is responsible for creating mechanisms aimed at preventing power grid disconnection for consumers who cannot pay their bills.
Kosovo’s government is in the process of finalizing its new energy strategy. After input from different interest groups is received, the government is expected to approve the strategy before it is sent to parliament for final approval. The strategy is expected to be on the parliament’s agenda in September because the spring session ends at the end of July.
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