Turkish Cypriot authorities are receiving electricity from the Republic until 17 August; scarcity of funds coupled with technical glitches has pushed the north on the verge of a power shortage.
According to Turkish Cypriot media, the request came after damage at a power station in the occupied areas and a delay in getting fuel supplies to produce electricity.
Turkish Cypriots are no strangers to power shortages, as frequent damages to power stations and shortage of funds forces KIB-TEK, the electricity authority in the north, to scheduled outages.
In an interview with Turkish Cypriot daily YeniDuzen, the head of KIB-TEK’s board of directors Turan Buyukyilmaz, said the authority is dangerously low on fuel.
He stressed that if storage tanks are not refilled soon, fuel supplies will be drained within three days.
The delay was due to a hiccup with the tender regarding the latest fuel delivery.
If technical issues faced by KIB-TEK’s outdated power stations with emissions way off the charts and delays in fuel arrivals were not enough, it is also in financial trouble.
A lack of funds, coupled with the unwillingness of major institutions to pay their bills on time, ensured the authority’s debt reached unprecedented heights.
Major clients, including institutions, appear reluctant to pay their bills on time, with the authority frequently cutting their power supply.
In June, KIB-TEK cut the power to the Turkish Cypriot broadcaster Bayrak in a move to force it to pay old bills.
According to Buyukyilmaz, the authority will be reporting damages of ₺458 mln (€45.2 mln) in 2021, while in urgent need of some ₺402 mln (€39.6 mln) to meet its needs in August.
During 2019 and 2020, the authority recorded losses of ₺350 (€34.5 mln).
The authority owes Turkish energy producers AKSA ₺292 mln (€28.8 mln) for electricity produced in the past four months.
AKSA’s Cyprus power station has provided the authority with almost half of the 300 MW needed daily since 2003.
Buyukyilmaz said: “The authority is collapsing. It produces electricity for ₺1.33 (€0.13) per kilowatt and sells it cheaper than that. Losses are not being covered.”
He said that consumers would inevitably be hit with increases in their electricity bills.
The Turkish Cypriot ruling coalition said a committee is being set up to look into how losses will be covered and whether they will be rolled down to consumers.
Turkish Cypriots have invested their hopes of cheaper electricity tied to constructing an interconnector, linking the north to Turkey’s power grid.
Turkish energy specialist Dr Gurkan Kumbaroglu argued that the interconnector, for which plans have already been drafted, can bring electricity prices down in the north.
“The historical bonds and solidarity with Turkey have gained a new momentum after last year’s election,” he said, referring to Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar’s victory at the polls.
Tatar is widely seen as Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ‘Yes man’ in the north.
Kumbaroglu said decisions on constructing an electricity interconnector and natural gas pipeline would “accelerate”.
He argued that by importing electricity from Turkey, prices in the north would be slashed by at least a third.
The Cyprus Republic accepted the request, providing electricity ranging from 20MW (after midnight and during the early hours) and 40MW (in the afternoon and evening).
The Transmission System Operator has been instructed to supply power if there is availability.
Based on the production planning, needs in the occupied areas can be partly met during the afternoon and evening hours.
The electricity provided will be returned in the future based on Confidence Building Measures.