Energy: ITES recommends emergency plan to preserve and consolidate energy security in Tunisia(Study)

Asserting the authority of the State, restoring the financial capacity of public operators in the energy sector and securing gas imports while boosting the electricity mix are the main measures to be adopted to preserve Tunisia’s energy security, reads a study by the Tunisian Institute of Strategic Studies (ITES), made public recently.

According to this study entitled «Preserving and Consolidating Our Energy Security,» the priority is to restore the capacity of the State, its institutions and operators in the sector so as to ensure the continued supply of energy to the national market.

«The sector will collapse if energy users refuse to pay for the services provided for them and if the sector’s public monopolies continue to sell their products at prices lower than the cost of their production and/or their purchase without receiving, within the time limit, the compensation to be provided by the Public Treasury.»

To restore the rule of law, the proposed measures consist of recovering unpaid debts to compani
es in the sector (STEG, STIR, ETAP, SNDP) by the Treasury and by unscrupulous customers as well as putting an end to electricity theft and fuel smuggling.

It also involves applying the regulations in force concerning the obligation to constitute and maintain a safety stock of 60 days of fuel consumption, as well as those relating to the protection of infrastructures of vital importance and adopt a specific emergency response and crisis management plan.

Yet, Tunisia is no longer a rentier country in terms of oil, these measures will not be able to clean up the accounts of STEG, STIR and ETAP, as long as energy Electricity, gas and fuels will be marketed at prices well below their cost price.

To restore the financial capacity of public operators so that they can carry out the mission assigned to them, the authors of the study recommended reviewing the subsidy policy.

«In the long run, a generalized and substantial subsidy of energy does not encourage sobriety or performance and slows down the development of
alternative resources. To be effective, the subsidy of energy must be selective, targeted and judiciously managed over time. The abrupt cancellation of subsidies will have social costs. Likewise, their maintenance, without making all necessary adjustments, will lead to serious disruptions in the public energy service, and as a result, vulnerable populations will face a serious situation.”

The study adds that “reforming the energy price policy is a delicate operation which requires permanent consultation over several years between various stakeholders. The choice of products and the timetable for reducing their subsidy is to be designed by political authorities and senior administration. The progressive, selective and targeted reduction of energy subsidies must be followed by compensatory measures to support the most vulnerable social categories.

Regarding the security of gas imports to ensure the continuity of supply of electrical energy in the short and medium terms, the ITES called for holding negotiation
s as soon as possible with Algerian authorities so as to set the conditions of purchasing gas beyond 2027, give a strong impetus to the “solar plan” which has fallen far behind schedule, quickly implement the right project to equip public buildings with photovoltaic panels and encourage owners of homes and buildings with high electricity consumption to equip themselves with photovoltaic panels.

Besides this emergency plan, the ITES study called for restructuring the sector financially in the short, medium and long terms, developing all national energy resources, controlling the demand for energy, diversifying suppliers of imported natural gas as well as increasing the organizational capacity of stakeholders.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse




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