Greek government officials and the country’s lenders appear to be settling for a compromise deal on the percentage increase of natural gas amounts auctioned off by DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, for suppliers, the objective being to break regional monopolies maintained by the corporation’s EPA gas supply subsidiaries.
Though the lenders have sought a doubling of DEPA’s gas release for its auctions, from 10 percent to 20 percent of the total supplied to the market, the negotiating sides will probably settle for a figure of between 12.5 percent and 15 percent.
A gas release increase of this magnitude is manageable for DEPA, energy ministry sources informed, as it does not endanger the corporation’s financial standing, nor does it disrupt DEPA’s involvement in plans for the development of international projects such as the IGB Greek-Bulgarian interconnection and ITG, the Greece-Italy-Turkey interconnection. DEPA’s plan to expand Greece’s natural gas network will not be affected either.
As for another crucial front being negotiated by the two sides, the plan for elimination of the renewable energy (RES) special account’s 350 million-euro deficit by December, 2017, lenders appear to be easing up on their demand for electricity bill surcharge hikes as a means of reaching the objective, an official source has informed.
Instead, the lenders appear to have accepted Greece’s deficit-eliminating strategy, through which electricity suppliers will take on most of the deficit, as a sustainable solution.
As the RES special account contributions by suppliers will reflect their respective market shares, PPC, the main power utility, whose market share currently stands at 89 percent, will be chiefly responsible for as long as it dominates Greece’s electricity market.
Should the DEPA gas release and RES special account fronts be settled over the next few days, all of the energy sector’s current bailout-related prior actions will have been met. A tender for the privatization of the Egnatia Odos highway, running from Greece’s northwest to northeast, the appointment of new boards at Greek banks, and a draft bill concerning civial aviation services will remain as pending prior actions.
The lenders appear headed towards setting an end-of-October deadline for the completion of the review’s prior actions for the disbursement of a subtranche of 2.8 billion euros.