Heat forces Albania to buy electricity, warns of expected earthquake after prolonged drought

The high temperatures and prolonged draught in Albania has forced the Albanian energy corporation (KESH), which is the country's main electricity producer, to import approximately 80 percent of energy consumed in the country, according to what KESH announced on Tuesday.

The company pointed out that energy consumption has seen high growth in the last weeks, mainly for air conditioning to cope with the heatwave that has gripped the country.

Also, the increase in temperature has also lowered the water level in Albania's main cascade of Fierza in north of Albania as well as that in Drin river.

Since Albania highly depends on energy produced by hydroelectricity, the Albanian energy corporation and other energy operators have been obliged to secure energy through imports.

Moreover, KESH noted that for the month of August, it had signed an energy import contract that would secure 434,000 megawatt hours of electricity with a total value of 30 million euros (35.2 million U.S. dollars), and will seek financial support from the government.

A heat wave has scorched Albanian for the past two months, causing several massive fires across the country. Several teams of firefighters and Albanian military personnel are battling fires in many districts of the country. Greece and Italy have sent water helicopters to assist Albanian authorities put out fires.

On a related note, an Albanian official Thursday warned of earthquake risks after the draught lingering in the country amid the ongoing heat wave. At a press conference, Shemsi Prenci, head of Albania's Civil Emergencies Department, said Albania risks being hit by earthquakes like that of 1967 which killed 12 and injured 174.

The official gave the warning after two minor tremors measured 2.4 and 2.6 in Richter scale were registered in the Elbasan district in central Albania.

"After the heat wave in recent weeks, our country faces the risk of strong earthquakes. And, considering the fact that strong earthquakes repeat in a timeframe of around 50 years, it means that we should be careful this year," Prenci told reporters.