A government decision to revise how the renewable energy (RES) special account is funded, which throws additional weight on electricity suppliers rather than consumers, has stirred up considerable debate, both on the sidelines and at the core, ahead of the imminent submission to parliament of a draft bill for the plan.
A slight delay to the draft bill’s submission date – it now appears set to be tabled in parliament early next week instead of today – has fueled further debate.
The main power utility PPC, which is being hit hardest by the revision, based on its dominant market share, still over 90 percent, is reacting hardest – at political, union and PR levels.
However, despite its objections, the utility has not proposed any solutions that would resolve the RES special account’s deficit problem, which threatens to destabilize the entire electricity market.
If electricity suppliers do not cover their share of the RES special account deficit, then the RES-supporting ETMEAR surcharge included on electricity bills will need to be increased. In this case, consumers would be affected.
The amounts to be covered by electricity suppliers in the government plan were determined through a study conducted by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki on behalf of RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy. The cost for electricity suppliers factors in the System Marginal Price (SMP) reduction, greatly induced by the penetration of RES production into the grid. The study estimates that the SMP level has fallen by approximately six euros per MWh as a result of RES supply to the grid.
Lower SMP levels have greatly increased the profit margins enjoyed by electricity suppliers, as the SMP represents the wholesale price at which suppliers purchase electricity.
RES sector officials, in comments offered to energypress as a response to a PPC reaction on the issue yesterday, noted that the utility is, yet again, seeking to mislead public opinion on the ETMEAR surcharge’s role in the overall matter.
The RES sector officials pointed out that a large percentage of the ETMEAR surcharge is not being channeled to the RES sector, as it ought to, but, instead, subsidizes electricity supply companies.
A variety of studies in the past have shown that a particularly high proportion of the ETMEAR surcharge, or roughly 40 percent, ends up with power suppliers and not RES enterprises.
RES sector officials told energypress they believe the government’s planned revisions are headed in the right direction, will lead to the market’s normalization and an ETMEAR reduction, offering major benefits for consumers.
“Structural problems encountered by electricity suppliers cannot once again stand in the way of the market’s normalization and interests of consumers,” one RES sector authority told energypress. “Interestingly, even though this is an era in which all major electricity companies around the world are acting decisively and investing in RES solutions, certain Greek officials insist on ways of the past, are stuck to fossil fuels, and perceive the RES sector as a cash cow.”