Confusion inevitable as RAE seeks to fill board vacancies

The expiring tenures of four board members at RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to leave its seven-member board with just three members and the inability to make and implement decisions, is likely to prompt functional problems at the authority until late next January, possibly early February, at best, when the recruitment process for new members may have been completed.

At this stage, it remains uncertain how various regulatory revisions demanded in the country’s bailout agreement will be dealt with. The measures include a new support framework for the renewable energy sources (RES) sector, implementation of a road map leading to the EU’s target model for an integrated electricity market, as well as revisions to avoid below-cost operations of independent power stations.

The energy ministry issued a recruitment notice for the four vacant positions last Wednesday, setting a December 15 deadline for resume submissions by interested parties. The delayed announcement will inevitably leave the RAE board dysfunctional until the process is completed and the three remaining board members are joined by the four prospective recruits.

The energy ministry contends it will push for a swift process to avoid RAE-related market complications. Based on experience, however, the procedure to appoint the four new board members, including a deputy chairman, will take time.

Last week’s recruitment notice needs to remain posted for 30 days. The RAE board’s new recruits will also need to be approved by Parliament’s Committee on Institutions and Transparency. In addition, Parliamentary activity will wind down during the approaching festive season.

The Syriza coalition’s previous energy minister, radical leftist Panagiotis Lafazanis, who has since launched his own anti-eurozone party, Popular Unity, had threatened to diminish RAE’s executive powers. The authority’s financial and administrative upgrades stand as bailout demands.