Volterra permitted to keep paying half surcharge amount until final verdict

An Athens Court of First Instance has permitted electricity supplier Volterra to continue paying 50 pecent of an electricity supplier surcharge, based on a preceding temporary court decision, until a final verdict is delivered within the next few months.

Volterra had filed a case against LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator, seeking protection from higher-than-expected surcharge payments, used to eliminate the RES special account.

Four other electricity suppliers, Elpedison, Protergia, Heron and Watt+Volt, had also filed separate cases against LAGIE but these were eventually withdrawn.

The issue emerged when supplier surcharge amounts, revised weekly, skyrocketed and prompted reactions from suppliers. In January, main power utility PPC, the market’s dominant supplier, decided to stop paying LAGIE its share of the surcharge, determined by market shares.

A month later, independent suppliers followed suit and, in addition, took legal action, fearing they could be removed from the electricity suppliers’ registry, as is specified by market regulations. PPC did not fear such a prospect as it controls nearly 90 percent of Greece’s retail electricity market.

Authorities needed to intervene after the supplier surcharge rose well over anticipated levels. The surcharge level has since subsided.

In the first week of May, the surcharge registered 7.1 euros per MWh, followed by 7.01 euros per MWh in the month’s second week. Such levels were anticipated in a related study conducted by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki prior to the surcharge’s introduction last October.