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Hungarian aspiration towards Serbian hydropower plants: what happened after EPS became a joint-stock company?

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Only a month after the Supervisory Board of EPS made the decision to transfer this company from a public company to the new status of a joint-stock company, the old convocation of this body was put to the test because it also considered the proposal to separate 11 hydroelectric plants from the Serbian company and transfer them into a new one, formed together with the Hungarian MVM group.

Although it was the fifth item on the agenda of the session held on May 18, it came to the fore despite the fact that only information about the Hungarian company’s offer for this type of cooperation was discussed. The reason for this lies in the fact that after the session, only the agenda of this body was released to the public, without the information that the Hungarian offer for cooperation was rejected.

According to “Blic Biznis”, that offer dates back to before the legal transformation of the Serbian electricity industry, however, it was only discussed on May 18. The result of that conversation was stated in the minutes of this session, which states that “the proposal of the Hungarian MVM group for the establishment of a joint company in the Republic of Serbia for RES production with the allocation of 11 hydropower facilities from EPS AD was not accepted”.

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Why it was not officially announced is not known, but what is known is that only the agenda reached the public unofficially, so speculations began that this is the first step for the privatization of the Serbian energy company. In addition, speculations began about which 11 hydropower plants are involved, so in the absence of accurate information, there was also partially accurate information.

Namely, it was mostly mentioned that the Hungarians are interested in all nine Drina-Lim hydropower plants, namely Bajina Bašta, RHE Bajina Bašta, Bistrica, Potpeć, Uvac, Kokin Brod, Zvornik, Ovčar Banja and Međuvršje and two smaller ones.

According to the knowledge of “Blic Biznis”, only a part of the hydro potential from this chain is on the wish list of MVM.

Incorrect information appeared in the public that the Hungarians made an offer for all nine hydropower units from this chain, which is not true. Namely, they expressed interest in five of them, namely Potpeć, Uvac, Kokin Brod, Ovčar Banja and Međuvršje. Therefore, there is neither flow-through nor reversible HPP Bajina Bašta on their wish list, nor Bistrica nor Zvornik, as some media reported. Instead, they are interested in four on Vlasina, Vrelo 1,2,3, and 4 and two small in Pirot. In addition to them, they also mentioned the Lisna pump, so the total number is 11. What is correct as information is that it is about a potential of 350 MW – says a source of “Blic Biznis” close to the Supervisory Board.

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He adds that this Item was on the agenda because the Hungarian MVM group sent an official proposal of interest, that is, an offer.

Therefore, it is only about the information related to the proposal of their interest, and not about the official offer. What is important to know is that the Supervisory Board did not accept the proposal of the Hungarians, and this was officially stated at the session of May 18. I think that this was done clumsily, that is, that everything should have been officially announced, because it is not a secret. This is how only the agenda appeared, which reached the public, so speculations started that it was about the dismemberment of EPS, that is, privatization – says our interlocutor.

Precisely because of such speculations, after the agenda of the Supervisory Board reached the public, the Ministry of Mining and Energy also reacted, announcing that the Supervisory Board of EPS did not make a decision on the establishment of a joint company and the separation of 11 hydroelectric power plants with the Hungarian company “MVM”.

Anyone who talks about the alienation of EPS property in public is spreading falsehoods and panic. Unfortunately, it is not new that individuals from EPS itself falsely harass the public and employees, and that is why it should be the subject of an investigation as to why official documents of the company’s management are released to the public with untrue information – stated the Ministry of Energy.

Experts believe that all this around the session of the National Assembly was clumsily done and that is why various inaccurate stories are being circulated.

In the conversation with people from the profession as well as the announcements of the ministry, I learned that the management of EPS rejected such a proposal and informed the Supervisory Board about it. As an expert, I am not against EPS forming joint new companies with electricity companies from the region, It can certainly be good for EPS and for those partners, but the way is important, as it seems. In this particular case, a lot of professional questions arise, so I consider it both expected and reasonable that the management of EPS rejected such an offer.

EPS has already established a joint venture with Elektroprivreda Republika Srpska for the construction of hydroelectric power plants from the “Upper Drina” system, and this could be an example of good joint cooperation between electricity companies in the region – says energy expert “Dilojt Srbija”, Željko Marković for “Blic Biznis”.


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