Brussels accepts Greek plan for RES-supporting industrial surcharge reduction

The European Commission has approved a Greek proposal for a three-year adjustment plan offering reduced RES-supporting ETMEAR surcharges, including a cut for selected energy-intensive industrial sub-sectors to 15 percent of the average surcharge level valid for all consumers, energypress sources have informed.

The plan approved by Brussels also includes favorable surcharge terms for a number of consumer categories, including farmers, but only for existing electricity supply connections, the sources informed. ETMEAR surcharge reductions will not apply for new connections concerning these categories.

Contrary to the plan’s ETMEAR surcharge reductions for energy-intensive industrial sub-sectors, other categories, especially major-scale consumers of the mid-voltage category, including major hotels, big farms, train and tram companies, as well as Athens International Airport, will face surcharge increases. Certain mid-voltage industries will be exempted from the increases.

The energy ministry is still seeking to reduce mid-voltage ETMEAR hikes. But this is seen as a challenging objective as funds need to be generated to offset the reduced ETMEAR surcharge contributions of the energy-intensive industrial sub-sectors.

The plan’s adjustments include favorable terms for small-scale farmers, hospitals, ministries and public buildings, whose ETMEAR surcharge costs will be limited to 50 percent of the average level. A surcharge level representing 30 percent of the average will be set for tram and railway companies. The main power utility PPC’s lignite mines will be charged 20 percent of the ETMEAR average.

According to the Greek proposal, the ETMEAR surcharge for electro-intensity enterprises, defined as those whose electricity costs exceed 20 percent of gross added value, will be set at a maximum of 0.5 percent of their gross added value. Steel and cement producers may utilize this term as an energy-cost relief measure.

Energy-intensive enterprises whose electricity costs are less than 20 percent of their gross added value will be responsible for ETMEAR costs of no more than 4 percent of their gross added value, according to the adjusted terms. Few enterprises are expected to qualify for this category.

A minimum ETMEAR price of 0.3 euros per MWh will be offered for certain sectors such as the steel and aluminium industries, according to the plan.

For quite some time now, the country’s energy-intensive producers had warned the energy ministry that a delay in the implementation of the new ETMEAR model placed the existing plan, already offering lower ETMEAR surcharge costs for energy-intensive industries, under the risk of being considered a form of state aid.

This would have jeopardized other existing support mechanisms available to major-scale industries such as a mechanism offsetting CO2 emission right costs as well as the demand response mechanism (interruptability), industrialists warned.