Thursday, August 17, 2006

"Zito-Bitola" cut off power - the city facing a bread crisis

The largest manufacturer of bread and baked goods in the region, "Zito Bitola" (ZB), is cut off electricity for several hours already due to unpaid debt towards Electric Power Company of Macedonia (ESM), reports Makfax's correspondent.

As reported, Bitola is facing a bread crisis.

Teams of ESM Distribution this morning fully cut off power in the management building and in production plants, and the ten ZB stores around the city are also disconnected from the electricity grid.

Neither the manager Petar Iliev, nor ESM disclose the amount of the plant's debt, so it remains uncertain for how long ZB will be left disconnected and whether Bitola and the region will face shortage of bread and baked goods.Image 20157

"The citizens will not be left without bread; we are preparing a strategy on how to supply the city. From our side, all efforts are made to pay off the debt and to receive electricity", said ZB manager Iliev.

Today's disconnection is a repetition of the scene from one month ago, when ZB got disconnected for the first time, for the same reasons.

The disconnection off power of ZB is just a continuation of the campaign started by ESM Distribution throughout most of Macedonia since 7 August, starting with disconnection of state institutions, including some ministries, the General Staff, the largest Army barracks "Ilinden" and many public enterprises, but also schools and cultural institutions like drama and movie theatres.

After a small break, ESM Distribution, which few months ago was acquired by Austrian Company EVN AG, continued the campaign on Tuesday, when it attempted to cut off electricity in the building of Macedonian Supreme Court, but the court's security prevented the team from entering.

Media report that power was cut off in courts in Kratovo, Veles, Kumanovo and Prilep, and building of three smaller municipalities - Delcevo, Kamenica and Rosoman - were disconnected off the grid.

At the same time, street lighting is shut off in many municipalities, and streets in Skopje's center and main boulevards could also remain unilluminated, because, according to unofficial information, the city has electricity debt of around 1,5 million Euro.

The disconnections by ESM Distribution come in a moment when the Regulatory Commission is reviewing and is expected to announce on Wednesday or Thursday the decision whether to approve raise of electricity price for 15 per cent, but also in a moment when the debt of ESM Distribution towards MEPSO, and thus indirectly to ELEM, has reached 30 million Euro.Image 20158

MEPSO is the principal transmission operator, while ELEM is the principal producer of electricity in Macedonia. ESM Distribution, MEPSO and ELEM originated from the former public enterprise ESM, which was transformed by the government of Vlado Buckovski and divided into three companies, immediately before the sale of Distribution to the Austrian company at the beginning of this year.

No comments: