An investigation into the REK Bitola coal plant found that the fire that erupted a week ago and badly damaged an important relay station was caused by a surge of power. The ELEM company said that it will form a committee to investigate the detailed causes, to prevent such future incidents.

REK Bitola is Macedonia’s main power generating facility, and has been largely offline in the past months, both because of lack of coal caused by chronic mismanagement of its mine and rampant corruption, and several incidents. This forced the Government to approve over 60 million EUR in emergency funds for electricity imports. The MEPSO company was forced to tap European energy supplies without purchasing contracts, that carries hefty fines.

ELEM insists that one generator in REK Bitola will be put online tomorrow and that they are working on repairing the relay station to allow another of the three generators to begin work. The company also insists that it has increased the coal reserves during the period the plant has been offline.

In response, the VMRO-DPMNE party, whose leader Hristijan Mickoski is a former director of ELEM, said that Macedonia paying five times more for its imported electricity than it would cost to produce it at home.

Zoran Zev drained the lakes we use for hydro energy and left REK Bitola without coal just as the winter heating season begins. Timely mining in REK Bitola would have ensured sufficient supplies but due to corrupt contracts we now face an energy collapse, VMRO-DPMNE said in a press release.