KEK is Kosovo's power company. Since the war it has been in deep financial trouble as people have not paid their bills and illegal connections mean that people are stealing electricity. This situation has been condoned by the international community in the first few years and now it is hard to rectify, given the corruption that has developed in KEK. The result is rolling power cuts, frequent breakdowns of plant and expensive imports.
Recently KEK trade unions scored an own goal by complaining that international KEK managers were vastly overpaid. As a result, even more people refused to pay their electricity bills with a drop of 2mill Euros in collections in September. However KEK is now getting tougher, and collections have improved again in November.
It seems that even the Kosovo Trust Agency has not paid bills due from privatised SOEs. If the internationals don't pay bills, what hope is there? KTA is the nominal owner of the assets of KEK and responsible for its management. What is going on here?
Now the Minister of Energy and Mining is claiming that civil servants will not get paid if they can't show they have paid their electricity bills. Municipalities have been told that unless they have paid their electricity bills, their accounts will be blocked (by the Ministry of Finance?).
Since the summer, KEK has had a new female Managing Director, and of the four division heads, two are women. Does this mean that a new regime has taken over, which is forcing UNMIK and the government to work on the problem?
Or has the Kosovo government finally realised that without electricity, the country will never have economic growth, people will stay poor and both main parties will have no one to blame after status is settled in a few months (or even weeks)?
Hmmm. We shall see. But at least the talking is getting tougher.