Albanian PM fires deputy environment minister for allegedly not paying her electricity bills

TIRANA, Albania – Albania’s deputy environment minister has been sacked for allegedly not paying her electricity bills — just as the government is striving to persuade Albanians to settle old power debts.

In a statement on his Twitter social network account Wednesday, Prime Minister Edi Rama said there can be no justification for non-payment, a major headache for the country’s dysfunctional state-run power sector.

The dismissed deputy minister, Diana Bejko, had no immediate comment. Her removal followed local media reports that she owed money for power consumption in a holiday home.

The two state companies responsible for electricity generation and distribution lost $550 million (433 million euros) this year, largely due to unpaid bills. Some 600,000 consumers have had their power cut off over the past year due to debts.