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Opinion / Editorial

Saving from the bandage removed

Saving from the bandage removed

By not setting the band of 800 kilowatt-hours for the month of October, the government saved tens of thousands of Albanian families (those who in non-cold months consume more than 800 kWh) about 5 million euros. They are not few. This is because the government buys electricity today on the international market at 455 euros per megawatt-hour, or nearly five times more expensive than it sells to us as citizens (we sell it to us at 9.5 lek kilowatts, plus 20 percent VAT, or 94 euros per megawatt-hour). The rest is all subsidy, for almost 30 percent of the electricity we are forced to import. Few of us know, but the help for every Albanian family during the 12 months of October 2021-September 2022, when the international price of energy increased by four to five times, compared to the normal price it has maintained in the years 2020 and before, it was 107 euros per month per family. Or more than 12 thousand ALL per month. This is the figure we would spend more on our electricity bill this 12 months if the government didn't protect us. Meanwhile, the Albanian Electro-Energy Corporation (KESH) has provided the electricity we need for the entire month of October 2022. There is no risk of energy restrictions, as the restrictions, unfortunately, happened in Kosovo during the days of September. The alternative that KESH has chosen combines the energy produced by hydropower plants in the country (especially the three state hydropower plants Fierza, Komani and Vau i Dejës, which provide 79 percent of the country's annual production), with imported energy. For the latter, KESH has spent 33.9 million euros, guaranteeing us electricity for the entire month. Only for September 2022, KESH has bought 44 million euros of energy in the international market. As of January 1, 2022, 334.5 million euros are spent just to import energy, or 254 million euros more than the average consumption for imports in ordinary years for the period January 1-September 30 (2020 onwards). So, a quarter of a billion euros of hidden subsidy, which is not visible. As the cold winter months approached, the government realized that the dry year 2022 and the average electricity prices in the international markets, which reached 690 euros per megawatt-hour, would not allow it, no matter how much money it spent from the budget, providing all the energy the country needed for the cold months. And it was forced to declare the placement of the 800 kWh bandage for the months of October-December 2022. But what happened? With the departure of the hot days of August, even during the hot days of September, the government observed that the demand for daily consumption (what the Distribution Operator-OSHEE requires KESH to supply to distribute to citizens and businesses) of energy had dropped from 17 thousand megawatt-hours to 11 thousand megawatts - hours. Or 47 percent. Almost half for half. A part is also dedicated to the saving started by our families, by not wasting energy anymore, at the rate they were used to wasting it (leaving electric lamps on, endless air conditioning, washing machines with a quarter of the boiler, etc.). On the other hand, the rains of September caused the level of the lake of Fierza (the barn of our energy production, where more than 60 percent of the energy we manage to produce is provided) to rise by 3 meters. They are not few. One more meter of water in Fierza is equal (at today's international energy prices) to 13.7 million euros. These positive developments enabled the government to guarantee the non-imposition of the bandage for the month of October, with an eye towards not imposing it for the month of December as well. Everything will depend on us, the citizens, how aware we will become to finally save electricity, this commodity that is so expensive in the world today. If we manage to save hard and if, God willing, the rains continue in October, the bandage removed for the sub-section would save us three times more than during October. So 15 million euros. This is because in the last ten days of the winter, temperatures drop significantly and we start heating our fireplaces. The challenge is all before us. But save energy, the government will manage to make us stop spending 15 million euros more from our family budgets on the energy bill. Everything depends on us as citizens, on our behavior with the most wasted commodity in all these 32 years of transition, with electricity, which has increased by an average of four times in the hearths of every European family.