Tina Jakasa, Managing Director of HEP Opskrba – We will deliver electricity to households in Serbia as well

Source: eKapija Thursday, 14.12.2017. 15:30
Tina JakasaTina Jakasa
Hrvatska Elektroprivreda (HEP) has entered the Serbian market, and, in addition to supplying the company Cimos, to which it is already delivering electrical energy, they will soon start supplying two local self-governments, Kraljevo and Valjevo, with electricity. HEP plans to expand further in the Serbian market, first by supplying big clients, companies and industrial facilities, whereas, in the future, they might be selling electricity to households as well, Managing Director of HEP Opskrba, Tina Jakasa, announces for eKapija.

The arrival of foreign companies to the electrical power market in Serbia was enabled on January 1, 2015, when the market was officially liberalized. However, not a lot has been done so far, especially when it comes to supplying households with electricity. A total of 106 suppliers are currently present in the free market of electrical energy in Serbia, and EPS supplies 98% of the market of commercial buyers of electricity.

It took Croatia 10 years to develop a liberalized market of electrical energy. The process of liberalization, that is, of the opening of the market in this country, started in 2003 in institutional terms. The main requirement for the arrival of competition was only met in July 2013, when the price of electricity dropped in the wholesale market, making room for other electricity suppliers to arrive, Tina Jakasa says in her interview for our portal.

eKapija: How many participants in the electrical energy market are there in Croatia?

– At the moment, 19 companies have a supply permit, and 5 suppliers actively take part in tenders. New suppliers are oriented towards the segments of the business sector and the public sector, and then to the citizens as well, offering electrical energy from door to door. One competitor has also started offering combined telecom and electrical power services.

eKapija: Although the market is liberalized and features several players, HEP manages to keep an 85% share in it. How do you explain this?

– As the leader in the Croatian electricity market, HEP Opskrba (the supply company) was ready for the opening of the market, both in the segment of household service and when it comes to big clients from the business segment, which were offered products and services adapted to their needs and market conditions. In the business segment, we enabled clients to join together for the purpose of getting better terms of electricity supply through professional associations, such as the Croatian Chamber of Economy. We have certified electrical energy from hydropower plants and prepared a product called ZelEn – electricity fully produced from renewable sources. We have also made a step forward in the market by launching a chain of charging stations for electric cars of the Elen brand. Last year, we initiated a new loyalty program for entrepreneurs, which also includes energy efficiency services, provided by our sister-company HEP ESCO.

(Photo: Jelena Đelić)
We've recently enabled our big users to use HEPI Trader, a new service and software application through which clients manage the procurement of electrical energy themselves with a continuous overview of the state of the market and the possibility of purchasing electricity in tranches, so that they could optimize their energy expenditures. As for the citizens, we have offered the Hepi tariff, which has proven to be very popular, as it enables customers to pay only for the energy they actually consume, instead of paying in advance. They are also provided with an overview of their consumption through the mhepi app and can also use the advantages of the loyalty program.

eKapija: What can Serbia learn from Croatia when it comes to the liberalization of the electrical energy market?

– Our experience with the process of the liberalization of the electrical energy market in Croatia and Slovenia has shown that the state, the relevant institutions and national electricity suppliers, as well as the competition, play a significant role in this process. In general, the opening of the market provides consumers of electricity with an opportunity to choose between offers in line with their needs, whereas the main suppliers and the competition bring a new approach through innovative products, new services and a different manner of communication.

In the upcoming period, it is important to educate the market. It is important for consumers to know that they will not be left without electricity if they enter the process of switching suppliers, that the administrative process is very simple and that it takes no more than 21 days. With a further process of market liberalization, Serbia can also expect the protection of local production to be minimized.

eKapija: You've mentioned Slovenia. Which countries does HEP export too?

– In addition to the leading position in the Croatian market, HEP has made a decisive step into the region. In Slovenia, it operates through HEP Energija, which has contracted over 12% of the market share. We supply Ljubljana, Slovenian Railways, all faculties and colleges in Ljubljana, as well as social welfare institutions, with electricity. We also supply the regional company Cimos and we are getting ready to enter the markets of B&H and Serbia as well.

eKapija: When it comes to Serbia, as you've mentioned, for now, you sell electricity to a branch of Cimos, and you should soon start delivering electrical energy to Kraljevo and Valjevo as well. How far have those projects progressed? When will the realization start and what kind of amounts are we talking about?

– In the said cities, we supply electricity for public lighting and all traffic lights. We participated in the public procurement procedure opened by local self-governments in early 2017 and contracted the job as the best bidder. The agreements were signed in mid-2017 and we expect their realization to begin by mid-December. The City of Valjevo has been spending electricity in the amount of around RSD 50 million for public lighting, and the value of the agreement with Kraljevo is around RSD 80 million.

eKapija: What are the company's further plans for expansion in the Serbian market?

– The Serbian market is important for the further development of HEP Snabdevanje and HEP Energija, which operates in Serbia. At the moment, we are focusing on big clients, companies and industrial facilities. In the second phase, when the conditions are met for making a concrete offer for households as well, we will join the market competition in that segment.

Katarina Stevanovic
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