Power utility PPC’s solid market share, especially in the high-voltage category, is once again being scrutinized by European Commission officials as part of Brussels’ ninth post-bailout review.
According to sources, European Commission authorities are seeking explanations from Greek officials for the state-controlled power utility’s unabating market share in the high-voltage category.
Brussels officials appear to be holding PPC responsible for selling specially priced industrial electricity at extremely low levels. Industrial consumers, also contacted by European Commission officials as part of the review, have attributed their customer loyalty to a lack of competition in Greece’s industrial electricity market.
PPC has held on to virtually all of its industrial customers, except for AGET (Heracles General Cement Corporation). MEL (Macedonia Paper Mills) abandoned PPC for a short period but has since returned.
Brussels officials are also believed to have questioned PPC’s electricity price levels in the low and medium-voltage categories, suggesting that these, too, are low.
It remains to be seen if this overall probing by the European Commission will develop into any form of official pressure.
Just days ago, energy minister Kostas Skrekas reached an agreement with the European Commission to end a long-running anti-trust case against PPC by agreeing to gradually end the utility’s monopoly of lignite-based electricity production. Despite the development, a number of Brussels officials appear to be keeping PPC in the frame.