In North Macedonia, POWER UP will implement a pilot scheme in Skopje.
Skopje is one of the 6 European pilots that act as “living labs”: each of them will implement novel business models around renewable energy or energy efficiency services together with households affected by energy poverty and with local stakeholders (municipalities, social organisations, energy utilities, citizen cooperatives etc.). The inclusion of Skopje, a capital city in an EU candidate country, will ensure that the project results are highly relevant to other candidate countries and potentially eastern partnership countries.
Energy poverty in countries of Southeast Europe came up in the early 90’s when the energy system underwent a big transformation. Such is the case with the city of Skopje, where the ten state–owned energy companies were sold and became companies selling their services at market prices, leading to a steep rise in the price of energy. Although there is no legal definition of energy poverty in Macedonia, energy poverty is mentioned in the latest Energy Law as an issue to tackle. At national level, the government subsidizes households that are beneficiaries of social assistance to pay their energy. But, at local level, no policy to target energy poverty has been implemented yet. POWER UP partners will design and adapt mechanisms to better involve vulnerable households.
AD GES is a recently established municipal energy company, based in Skopje. The company’s initial mission is to distribute and supply heat energy and natural gas for Skopje city area, as well as other energy sector activities of public interest and local importance. Its final aim is to integrate energy systems, perform energy activities and design energy policies in the city area for meeting the energy needs, reduce energy cost, mitigate energy poverty, provide consumers’ benefits and obtain environmental protection and air pollution reduction.
Each pilot organisation has found a ‘sparring partner’ organisation in its region which expressed its intention to replicate the pilot scheme.