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Slavko Piljic (82) was the first one who brought electricity to Janjeske Otoke near Sipovo in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1965 when he built a hydroelectric power plant on river Janj. He is also now selling the electricity to the Electric power distribution company of Serbia.
Piljic, a construction worker, says that everything started when he served the military term as a radio telegraphist. They used generators of 60 revolutions powered by soldiers and they illuminated the entire camp. Upon returning from the army, he wanted to make his father's job easier who was working in a watermill, with four wheels, and they didn't stop even during the night because there was a lot of work. "Petrolejka", who occasionally stopped working during the night, wasn't a good solution.
- I came to the idea to build, because I had a lot of water power - said Piljic.
The older brother got him a dynamo from a car that had 3,000 rpm, and since he could use the water power for just 100 rpm, he had to look for a solution to that problem.
- At that time, I could not get a transformer which would transform the rotations from low to high, so I made it over wooden pylons - remembers Piljic.
Thanks to them, the system worked, and the first dynamo worked for 10 light bulbs. The father organized a celebration for his success and the guests of Slavko Piljic named him Tesla, because "he made electricity on Janjske Otoke for the first time", writes Anadolija.
- These are all Tesla patents, this is all from him, I just changed it to use it on the water - says Piljic.
The second generator served Slavko and his brothers for ten years. Since it was housed in a small building, poorly isolated, a fire broke out, and the wool processing plant and machines disappeared in flame.
After that, Slavko bought the third generator from a forest company, which was discarded since the electricity was brought to the place where it was used. Since he did not use a third of the water power that the Janja river has at its disposal, Piljic talked with an engineer for the mini hydro power plant, after which he decided to install a new turbine and generator.
- We submitted a request to water management and the authorities to give us permission to join the network. I swear, we waited for a year and a half of the papers, it was really slow and I think the process should be accelerated for the people who want to work, to give them papers faster so they can work - said Piljic, adding that he has been producing 22 kilowatts for two years.
His plan is to change the turbine again and to set up a stronger generator to produce and sell even more electricity, and he already started searching for the licenses.
According to his words, although he is supplying his own house with electricity, he must pay for the meter, writes Anadolija.
- I tell them it's from my generator, but its no use, you have to pay for the meter - he says.
Electricity in the Janjski Otoci arrived in 1988, and according to Piljic, this was due to the great engagement of several villagers who then lived in this small town. They found a substation on their own, they made and placed utility poles...
The small hydroelectric power station in Janjski Otok, carved into the limestone, although hidden from the eyes of accidental passersby, has become a tourist attraction and tourists come to visit the Janja plant on regular basis.