The Energy Regulatory Commission announced that it has approved the state owned ELEM – ESM company to conduct heating in the capital Skopje. ELEM took over the troubled BEG heating monopoly – the only central heating company in Macedonia – that was unable to provide heating with the current sky-high gas prices. ELEM will provide heating while the central budget picks up the tab for the losses incurred when about 60,000 households in the central part of the city pay higher bills that will still fall far short from the realistic market price for the gas used.

Heating begins tomorrow. ELEM was given a 10 year heating license, indicating that BEG owner, copper magnate and real-estate developer Vanco Cifliganec, does not intend to return to this recently acquired business and will try to sell off the two major gas fired heating plants to ELEM. In case gas is unavailable due to the developments in the war in Ukraine, the Government intends to order ELEM to use dirty heating oil in the plants.

The larger of the two plants is tied to the privately owned gas fired TE-TO electricity plant and usually works in unison. But energy regulator Marko Bislimovski said that the heating segment of the plant will work regardless whether TE-TO will fire up its electric generator.

All other cities, and significant parts of Skopje, use either electricity or wood for heating. Poorer households also use waste wood, coal, and in extreme cases – rubber tires – leading to horrific levels of air pollution during winter.