The World Bank has urged Albania to speed up the liberalisation of its energy market and privatise its electricity distribution network if it wants to find a long-term solution to its electricity shortages.

According to local media reports, the Bank added that the Albanian government should privatise the distribution arm of the state-owned KESH electricity utility and upgrade the electricity distribution network. It also calls for the construction of new hydroelectric power plants.

Hydroelectricity currently accounts for more than 90% of Albania’s electricity output. In 2007, the Albanian government will introduce a new bill aimed at attracting investments in the building of new, small hydroelectric power plants nationwide. A World Bank official said that such plants do not solve the problem of electricity shortages, but built in large numbers would be a significant electricity resource.

Albania also plans to build a new thermal power plant to reduce its dependence on hydroelectricity.