Crete network responsibility rift may delay new link’s utilization

Though Crete’s small-scale grid interconnection, to reach the Peloponnese, appears set for a late-March launch, as planned by the project’s developer, the power grid operator IPTO, a dispute with distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO over the point in time at which management responsibility of this link should be transferred from DEDDIE, currently responsible for Crete’s network as the island is classified as a non-interconnected island, to IPTO, threatens to delay the vital grid link’s full utilization.

Normally, when grid interconnection projects for non-interconnected islands are completed, IPTO assumes responsibility of their electricity networks.

However, Crete, Greece’s biggest and most populous island, represents a much bigger interconnection project that is being developed over two stages. The project’s second stage, anticipated in 2023, will reach Athens.

IPTO, in a letter forwarded to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, and DEDDIE/HEDNO, contends it cannot assume management responsibility of networks that it does not own, such as Crete’s high-voltage network, which belongs to the power utility PPC group.

PPC will need to swiftly sell to IPTO the Cretan network, a 150-kV transmission line running from Hania to Lasithi, before the operator assumes its responsibility, the operator noted.

PPC does not appear quite ready to make such a move at present. As a result, IPTO insists DEDDIE/HEDNO needs to maintain responsibility for the Cretan grid from the moment the island’s small-scale interconnection is completed until ownership of the Cretan grid is transferred to IPTO.

On the contrary, DEDDIE/HEDNO, citing technical reasons as the main factor, believes IPTO should take on management responsibility of Crete’s grid as soon as it completes the small-scale link.

For the time being, RAE is consulting both sides in search of a solution. If PPC moves slowly on the transfer of ownership of the Cretan network to IPTO, then the new infrastructure’s full commercial utilization could be delayed.