Completion of NOME plan expected at meeting today

The Greek government and the country’s creditor representative officials are just one step away from finalizing a draft for Greece’s NOME-type auction plan, government sources informed energypress yesterday following a meeting between lenders and energy minister Panos Skourletis at the Athens Hilton.

The NOME auction plan’s draft is expected to be completed today at a new meeting between energy ministry officials and technical officials representing the creditors.

According to the government sources, the starting price level for the NOME auctions – intended to provide third parties with access to main power utility PPC’s low-cost lignite and hydropower sources as part of the bailout-related obligation to help break the utility’s dominance – will be set well below the System Marginal Price (SMP) of each relevant period. The SMP was 41.4 euros per MWh in March.

Quite obviously, the energy packages to be offered by PPC at the NOME auctions will not only include lignite-fired electricity production but hydropower output as well if auction starting prices are to be set well below the SMP.

Although reluctant, PPC has no other choice than to accept auction starting prices below the SMP.

The sources also informed that independent suppliers who purchase low-priced electricity quantities at the NOME auctions will be free to market these quantities to any consumer groups they please. In the past, Greek government officials, seeking to protect PPC’s interests, had sought to obligate independent suppliers to cover the full range of consumer sub-categories – household, professional, industrial, and agricultural.

It also appears likely that independent suppliers will be permitted to offer excess electricity amounts to the secondary market, even at levels higher than the purchase price. In addition, independent suppliers will probably also be given the green light to export any excess electricity amounts purchased.

As for the future of the power grid operator IPTO, a PPC subsidiary firm, Greek officials and the lenders appear to have agreed on the fundamentals of a Greek proposal made last December, which entails transferring a 51 percent stake of IPTO to the Greek state and the remainder to strategic, institutional and bourse investors.

However, certain details still need to be finalized. These include the extent of the strategic investor’s stake in IPTO and whether the operator’s managing director will be appointed by private-sector investors. Revisions concerning the sale procedure and PPC’s compensation for IPTO’s split are also expected.

The next meeting for the IPTO breakaway plan is scheduled to take place Tuesday, when the consulting firms hired for the transfer – Lazard, Sol, and Norton Rose – meet with creditor representatives for revision approvals.