Vasko Kovacevski, head of the state owned ELEM – ESM company which took over the central heating system in the capital Skopje, said that if they run out of natural gas, they will switch to diesel fuel.

The company now runs two major heating plants, in Skopje’s Karpos and Aerodrom districts, which used to run on oil but have switched to natural gas to help with the chronic air pollution problem in the city. But with Macedonia only able to secure gas for a few weeks so far, Kovacevski said that they are looking into using diesel as less polluting than oil.

The plants supplied warm water for about an hour on Saturday morning in the first run of the heating season. Over 80 buildings did not receive heat, which Kovacevski blamed on their own faulty systems. The third heating station, Skopje North, is not working since it is a separate commercial entity and owes money to ELEM from last year.