Demand response mechanism extension needed by steel industry

Steel exports need to serve as a driving force and bolster the sector for as long as local construction activity remains subdued and Greek production cannot be absorbed domestically, according to preliminary findings of an ongoing industry study being conducted by consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal.

The study’s final results will be used by the banking sector as guidance for possible steel industry bank loans worth 1.1 billion euros.

Despite the drop in industrial electricity tariffs, currently at satisfactory levels, the local steel industry is struggling.

Greece’s energy cost-saving demand response mechanism, a temporary plan set to expire in October, is vital for local industry. Local industrialists are hoping its validity will be extended.

The demand response mechanism (interruptability) enables major industrial enterprises to be compensated when the TSO (ADMIE) asks them to shift their energy usage (lower or stop consumption) during high-demand peak hours, so as to balance the electricity system needs.

At yesterday’s meeting, EVIKEN officials expressed their concerns over the demand response mechanism’s approaching end, fearing electricity cost increases that would negatively impact the industrial sector’s level of competitiveness.

Last week, Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, informed that the European Commission is open to the prospect of allowing an extension of Greece’s demand response system as it is considered compatible with EU law.

However, the Greek energy ministry needs to take the initiative and submit a formal application for the mechanism’s extension. No action has yet been taken. Failure to do so will threaten the sustainability of many industrial enterprises. Greece’s steel industry currently employs some 1,500 persons.