The most important question is what liberalizes the market if the price is not free. Jelica Putniković and her guest Ljiljana Hadžibabić, who is an expert in the field of energy, and until recently she was a member of the Energy Agency Agency, she spoke about it in the "Sputnik Energy" program.
Hadzibabic claims that the market in Serbia is free for some customers and that the law provides that all buyers are free to choose a supplier.
"With us, as in all countries, we have established the possibility of protecting households and small customers, in the sense that someone has to buy energy for them, but not to price, but to free the market, with one energy supplier, for which the state it has made a commitment that whoever receives from him from households and small customers must offer him an offer, if a small customer does not match the price, he is looking for another seller from those who are on the free market. "
Electricity traders in Serbia say that market liberalization has not yet ended. They complain that the state maintains a price at the level corresponding to consumers, only from the category of small consumers, including households, and there is no place for wages. Hadžibabić says that such a case does not occur in most countries, but the price is marketable. According to her, in these countries, small buyers have suppliers that they can always contact, and suppliers compete for more customers to have more or more energy to sell. He believes that there is a problem in our entire region that the price is not economical, but it is related to social resonance, but also partly political, and the price of electricity is growing very slowly and slowly than necessary.
"The state does not give the last word, but the state gives its first word. In Serbia, 97% of consumers' needs in Serbia are fulfilled by EPS, which is a state-owned enterprise. When EPS calculates the amount of money needed to run a business, it will carry out all repairs, extinguish and build to increase consumption, substitute potential, came to the conclusion that along with all the rationalization required from him, he must raise the price of electricity by 15 per cent, then the state states that it should be ensured that this person can pay.
The fact that EPS will be able to sell electricity at the best price tomorrow is a state and not an energy sector in Europe, said Hadžibabić, and predicts that when the market is completely liberalized, the state will look after small customers as much as it can. A part of the regulated market, according to Hadžibabić, is not only 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 stipulates that the price of electricity will gradually increase in the regulated market. Forty-four percent of final consumption in Serbia is already on the liberalized market and the price is the result of supply and demand, and EPS competes with other bidders. successful and satisfying that goes through this part of the market, but in this part is not regulated – sometimes it can not raise the price for inflation in the previous period. "
Hadžibabić adds that the state has entered into a strategy that will raise the price in two or three years, which should reach the average level of the market price. Our interlocutor says that this was not implemented because they were in a hurry at the price increase that they had already given their consent. He believes that the reason is the protection of poor buyers.
"The law states that it must constantly analyze whether it can stop regulating, so let the entire segment for households and small customers put on the market. The regulation should not be abolished overnight, because it is not known what would be the increase in the case of households. the thing that needs to be resolved before it happens is to protect poor buyers, and they are poor in the sense that they can not buy enough energy, can not pay their bill, can not heat their homes or are at risk from power outages and have Someone in the patient's home, the whole complex has to be resolved, the state has begun to solve it, but for now there is not enough coverage for these protected clients. "
The possibility, after the regulation of the electricity market, is to be slightly lower than in European countries, as is the case with the prices of gasoline and diesel oil, in the opinion of our guest is not unrealistic. Again, the main reason is the large number of endangered customers.
"The state is making efforts to create a more rational system that can get help, and there is much to do with social services." However, the state can not provide even enough money for any greater reach. Seventy and several thousand households receive help, and According to some of our World Bank research and research, around 350,000-400,000 households are in some way threatened. To enable the market price for households, the ENP would also make some profit, such companies having a normal profit of around 7 percent. and she could use this part to protect the poor. "
EPS is a strong producer in this region, and Hadžibabić is convinced that thanks to the price for offering his goods he will be competitive with traders who are now accusing him.
"EPS will always be competitive because it can never undermine the price equal to the producer's price, it has 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, domestic energy companies still remain the largest energy companies despite the liberalized market. Hadzibabic explains that this is because they are trying to do it, no matter how the rules require a certain deregulation.
"The key word in this phase of changes in the energy sector is deregulation, that is, recognition of all activities individually, production and transmission, distribution, trade, procurement, knowledge of who belongs to this segment, what is its task and how effective it is in this The French and German energy companies are extremely powerful, but when they decided to liberalize the market, Western or developed Europe had a surplus of energy, and there was no market without surplus. If you have a shortage, you buy it and it costs it "- emphasizes our guest.
Hadžibabić is convinced that our Electric Power Company must be deregulated and liberalized in order to secure money for investment and lack of self-sufficiency.
"If we lose energy for three weeks during winter, we will not build a power plant, but we will buy electricity." However, when high consumption in our region in winter, everyone has a deficit and the entire region imports electricity. Energy security is very closely related to this self-sufficiency, but we do not have the money to do so, we have to take out loans to build self-sufficiency. "
For a small buyer, with the exception of price, total liberalization will not cause a big change in the sense that it will not change distribution, because distribution is only a forwarder.
"Distribution has a halter, the meter belongs to distribution, and whoever delivers, with whomever you have a contract for delivery, the distribution is responsible for keeping the halter out of the box and informing both the supplier and the buyer how much energy there was.The household can not change the distribution, but the electricity it buys is not owned by distribution. Suppliers that compete for buyers at the household level are energy owners until they are sold, and when they are sold, the household will be the owner. "