The big question is what the liberalization of the market means if the price is not free. Jelica Putniković and her guest Ljiljana Hadžibabić, an energy expert and until recently a member of the Energy Agency, spoke on this topic in the "Sputnik Energy" program.
Hadzibabic says that the market in Serbia is free for a part of the customers, and that the Law stipulates that all buyers are free to choose their supplier.
"With us, as in all countries, we determine the possibility of protecting families and small customers in the sense that someone needs to buy energy for them. But not price the price, but liberate the free market with an energy supplier for which the state has established an obligation that he who receives from him from families and small customers, he has to offer him some kind of offer.If a small customer does not match the price, he then looks for another merchant from those who are on the open market. "
Electricity operators in Serbia argue that market liberalization is not yet over. They complain that the state keeps the price at a level that falls to consumers, only the small consumers category, which includes households, and there is no room for wages. Hadžibabić says that such a case is not in most countries, but that price is the market. According to her, in those countries, small buyers have suppliers they can always contact, and suppliers are competing for more customers to have more or more energy to sell. She believes that throughout our region there is a problem that price is not forming economically but involves social, but also partly a political resonance, and the price of electricity is growing very gradually and slowly than necessary.
"The state does not give the last word, but the state gives the first word." In Serbia, 97% of consumers' needs in Serbia find EPS, which is a state-owned company.When EPS calculates the amount of money needed to do business , to carry out all the reviews, works of extinction and construction to increase the consumption, the substitution capacity, he concludes that, in addition to all the required rationalizations, it needs to raise the price of electricity by 15%. taken care that this people can pay. "
The fact that the EPS will be able to sell electricity at the best price tomorrow is the problem of the state, not the energy sector in Europe, said Hadžibabić, and predicts that when the market is completely liberalized, the state will take care of small customers the maximum that you can Part of the regulated market, as Hadžibabić states, is not just a market price, it is not economically justified and it is risky not to build sufficient capacity for the future.
"The strategy adopted by the Assembly states that the price of electricity will gradually increase in a regulated market. Forty-four percent of final consumption in Serbia is already in the liberalized market, and price is the result of supply and demand, and EPS is it is successful and satisfied that it is going through this part of the market, but in this part it is not regulated – sometimes it can not raise the price of inflation in the previous period. "
Hadžibabić adds that the state has entered into the strategy of raising the price in the two or three years that should reach the average level of the market price. Our interlocutor says this has not been accomplished because they have rushed the rate of increase in price that they have already given their consent. She believes the motive is the protection of poor buyers.
"The law stipulates that it must constantly review whether it can stop regulating, so let the whole segment for residences and small customers be exposed to the market. Regulation should not be abolished overnight, because one does not know how much the increase would be. The first thing that needs to be resolved before it happens is to protect the poor buyers, and they are poor in the sense that they can not buy enough energy, can not afford the bill, can not heat the apartment or are in danger of "The state has begun to address this, but for now there is not enough coverage for these protected clients."
The possibility, after regulation of the electricity market, is to be a little lower than in European countries, as is the case of the price of gasoline and diesel, in the opinion of our customers is not unrealistic. Again, the main reason is the large number of customers in danger.
"The state is making an effort to create a more rational scheme that can get help, and there is a lot to do with social services, but the state can not provide enough money for more coverage. According to some of our studies and World Bank studies, some 350,000 to 400,000 households are in some way threatened. In order to allow the market price for households, EPS would also have some profits. companies have a normal profit of about 7%. This part belongs to the state, and it could use that part to protect the poor. "
EPS is a strong producer in this region, and Hadžibabić is convinced that with the price to offer its products, it will be competitive with the merchants who accuse it now.
"EPS will always be competitive because it can never be equal to the manufacturer's price. It holds 97.5% of the Serbian market and the Serbian market is half of the Western Balkan countries that are not yet in the EU."
In France and Germany, national energy companies remain the largest energy companies, despite the liberalized market. Hadzibabic explains that this is because they are trying to do this, no matter how the regulations require some deregulation.
"The key word in this phase of change in the energy sector is deregulation, which means recognizing all activities individually, production and transmission, distribution, trade, supply, knowing who belongs to the segment, what its task is and how it is However, when it decided to liberalize the market, Western or developed Europe had a surplus of energy and, without surplus, there was no market. If you have a shortage, you are buying, and costs, "emphasizes our guest.
Hadžibabić is convinced that our Electric Power Company must be deregulated and liberalized in order to guarantee the investment money and self-sufficiency that we lack.
"If we lose energy for three weeks during the winter, we will not build a power plant, but we will buy electricity, but when the high consumption in our region during the winter, everyone has a deficit and the entire region imports electricity. energy is closely related to this self-sufficiency, but we do not have the money for it. We need loans to build to be self-sufficient. "
For a small buyer, with the exception of the price, complete liberalization will not make a big change in the sense that it will not change the distribution because the distribution is just a freight agent.
"The distribution has a kantar, the meter belongs to the distribution and whoever supplies it, with whom you have a supply contract, the distribution is responsible for keeping the kantar out of the box and informing the supplier and the buyer how much energy there was. family can not change the distribution, but the electricity they buy is not owned by distribution. Suppliers, who will compete for buyers at the household level, own energy until they are sold, and when sold, the owner is the household. "