Serbia’s Minister of Mining and Energy Dubravka Đedović Handanović said on Tuesday (12 September) that over the past year, during each month, a million households in Serbia reduced their electricity consumption compared to the same period last year.
“For decades, we had very low prices for electricity and gas, as if we had forgotten to be mindful of energy consumption and resources. Citizens have shown that they understand the seriousness of the energy crisis, responded to the state’s call for energy conservation, and made a significant contribution to getting through the past winter more easily. Between 36 and 45 per cent of customers monthly received a discount on their electricity bill, depending on the amount of energy saved, ranging from 15 to 30 per cent,” Minister Đedović Handanović said.
The minister pointed out that the state subsidies help households with lower energy consumption and improve energy efficiency. “This has yielded results; around 20,000 households had the opportunity to implement some energy efficiency measures in previous public calls. In the current public call, 131 local self-governments are participating, where households will renovate their properties, involving around 50,000 households in the next few years. For this program, we have secured 50 million dollars [46.8 million euros] in cooperation with the World Bank,” she said.
Minister Đedović Handanović added that significant attention is given to energy retrofitting of public buildings that are major energy consumers. “We must continue to invest in the renovation of schools, kindergartens, healthcare facilities, cultural centres, libraries, municipal and other public buildings that are major energy consumers. This year, we have allocated 400 million dinars [3.4 million euros] for these purposes to achieve significant energy savings,” she said.
The minister emphasised that investments in the energy sector must be a priority for the next 20 years. “We have three goals: energy independence, ensuring the lowest prices for citizens and the economy, and ensuring the security of supply and the functioning of our energy system. The energy sector requires long-term planning, and it takes a lot of time to see results. We have adopted an investment plan in energy infrastructure for the next 10 years, which includes investments of 15 billion euros, primarily in renewable energy sources, distribution and transmission networks, and reversible hydroelectric power plants,” she said.