Kosovo govt expects from Serbia to pay electricity debt of the North

The government of Kosovo, claims that it will request during the next negotiations between Pristina and Belgrade in Brussels, compensation for the power bills not paid by Serb population in four northern municipalities of Kosovo.

This announcement came after the publication of facts that the population of northern Kosovo, respectively consumers of Leposavic, Mitrovica North, Zubin Potok and Zvecan, have not paid their electricity bills and that these debts were billed to the rest of the population of Kosovo.

According to official data, consumers in the north spent around €8 million or if calculated since the end of the conflict, €140 million energy, and this amount was billed to the consumers of the other parts of Kosovo.

The four municipalities in the north are mainly inhabited by Serbs, who functioned for years out of Kosovo’s judicial and constitutional system.

Kosovo’s Minister for Economic Development, Valdrin Lluka, told Radio Free Europe that billing spent electric energy in the northern part of Kosovo to the other consumers is not fair.

“The government of Kosovo does not have budgetary capabilities to compensate these bills because they are a loss caused by citizens of the north and we as government should request those losses because it is our right to request compensation from Serbia,” Lluka said.

“In reality, this does not only contain the unpaid invoices by the north but also tariffs of the transmission taken from Kosovo for 16 years. So we will include all these as part of the negotiations and if we cannot convince Serbia to compensate these losses through negotiations, then we will consider other forms, such as arbitrage,” Lluka said.

On the other hand, a reaction of the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms (CDHRF), notes that compensation of the harmed consumers is a promise which cannot be kept.

This council proposes to implement the Court of Appeal’s decision to discontinue discriminatory billing on an ethnic basis. As a second step, until a final solution is reached and in accordance with the final decision of the Court of Appeals, the CDHRF invites Kosovo people not to pay electricity to the billed amount but pay only 70 percent of the amount being billed.

Kosovo’s Ombudsman Hilmi Jashari confirmed for Radio Free Europe that the final decision of the Court of Appeals is that the Electricity Regulatory Office should suspend the decision of billing to citizens of the other regions the electricity spent in the north.