SKOPJE (N. Macedonia), November 25 (SeeNews) - North Macedonia's state-owned electricity producer ESM has dismissed the directors of REK Bitola thermal power plant (TPP) and REK Oslomej TPP as part of a wider staff overhaul aimed at improving the electricity production process and facing the challenges stemming from the current energy crisis, local media reported.
The dismissed directors - REK Bitola's Zlatko Kurcievski and REK Oslomej's Zlatko Piperkoski, were replaced respectively by Pece Matevski and Stojan Mickoski, who will serve as interim directors, Sloboden Pecat daily reported on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, the government declared a 30-day state of crisis after production at REK Bitola coal-fired power plant was halted on several occasions due to malfunctions. REK Bitola is North Macedonia's primary electricity generation capacity. At the same time, ESM is facing shortages of coal, despite announcing plans to increase power output from coal to meet demand from local companies during the energy crisis.
ESM said on Tuesday it will relaunch a tender for the supply of coal to REK Bitola and REK Oslomej as previous calls attracted only one acceptable offer from an unnamed Albanian firm for 90,000 tonnes of coal for the needs of REK Bitola. The power utility needs a total of 900,000 tonnes of coal for REK Bitola and additional 170,000 tonnes for REK Oslomej to increase production from December 2021 to April 2022.
To meet the increased demand, ESM said it would put into operation the third unit of REK Bitola and continue to operate REK Oslomej TPP. The government previously intended to stop the operation of REK Oslomej as part of a plan to build a solar power plant at the site of an old coal mine in the mining and energy complex.