Infringement procedures for PPC units ‘launched by Brussels’

The European Commission has begun infringement procedures against Greece in reaction to the main power utility PPC’s decision to continue operating its Amynteo and Kardia lignite-fired power stations, Kostas Skrekas, the main opposition New Democracy party’s shadow energy minister told yesterday’s Power & Gas Supply Forum in Athens, attributing his disclosure to a Brussels source.

The two power stations, among the Greek system’s oldest and least efficient, have been able to keep operating as a result of respective 17,500-hour lifeline extensions granted by the European Commission.

This additional time has now been exhausted by the Amynteo facility and is close to running out for Kardia, whose extension ends in May.

The Greek government and state-controlled PPC have disregarded these limits and decided to increase Brussels’ extension to 32,000-hour extensions for both power stations, a move that has not been accepted by the European Commission.

Amynteo and Kardia are continuing to operate amid highly inefficient conditions, exhausting more efficient gas-fueled power stations operated by both PPC and private-sector electricity producers, Dinos Benroubi, the energy division head at the Mytilineos group, supported at yesterday’s forum.

Given the typically slow bureaucratic procedures in Brussels, the time-extension issue surrounding the two PPC units promises to represent yet another challenge for the country’s next administration, set to emerge no later than October when national elections are due.