Emerging electricity retailers haunted by sector’s older woes

Emerging energy companies seeking stronger standings in the electricity retail market, all potential competitors of the main power utility PPC, have stopped their advertising campaigns as of last week amid the wider turmoil caused by the country’s dramatic political developments and the stifling effects of capital controls imposed.

Their current promotional freeze has revived unpleasant memories from the collapse, a few years back, of two energy companies, Energa and Hellas Power, which left the domestic electricity sector wounded. Consequently, many consumers in the local market have hesitated to switch electricity firms, still mindful of the collapse of Energa and Hellas Power, which prematurely ended the first attempt made to liberalize Greece’s electricity market. A lingering sense of insecurity felt by consumers with regards to switching electricity firms is reflected in market surveys.

However, some of the electricity companies presently active in the retail market stand as far more convincing prospects. They belong to powerful vertically integrated groups producing their own electricity from privately owned thermal power stations.

Even so, PPC has managed to maintain its extreme dominance of the retail electricity market with a 97 percent share. The remaining three percent is shared by private-sector electricity companies, vertically  integrated and not.

Heron, a member of the Terna group, holds a share of just over one percent, almost equally divided between the low and medium voltage categories. Professional consumers make up the bulk of this company’s consumers.

Elpedison, a venture belonging to ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum), Edison, and the Bobolas group, also has a market share of slightly over one percent, focused on the low and medium voltage consumption. More recently, it has begun penetrating the household market.

Protergia, belonging to the Mytilineos corporate group, has a 0.3 percent share of the retail electricity market, primarily medium voltage.

Heron, Elpedison, and Protergia are all vertically integrated. Of all other electricity retailers, not vertically integrated, four have managed to make some impact. Green holds a 0.3 percent share, all low voltage consumption. Watt+Volt holds a 0.2 percent share, primarily in low voltage. Voltera holds a 0.14 percent share, exclusively medium voltage. NRG has captured a 0.08 percent share of the retail electricity market, equally divided between low and medium voltage.