DG Comp rejects PPC appeal for tariff to Aluminium SA

The European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition has rejected an appeal by PPC, the Public Power Corporation, which has sought to lift a court-imposed electricity tariff for its electricity supply to Aluminium SA, a member of the Mytilineos Group.

In its appeal, PPC argued it is being forced to supply electricity to Aluminium SA at below-cost levels, based on preceding court decisions, and, therefore, was offering the industrial giant an unfair advantage over fellow EU producers.

Reached on March 25, the Directorate General for Competition decision comes as the fourth successive rejection of PPC action, at an EU level, taken in a bid to lift the imposed electricity tariff for supply to Aluminium SA.

Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s antitrust boss, noted that PPC’s price level for Aluminium SA, set at 40.7 euros per megawatt hour by a European Court verdict, neither represents a case of state aid nor offers an unfair advantage for the industrial giant.

According to the Directorate General for Competition, the average price of electricity supplied to similar metal-industry operations in the EU is 30.87 euros per MWh, meaning that Alumunium SA is not enjoying an unfair advantage over competitors when supplied electricity at a rate of 40.7 euros per MWh.

In its latest decision, the Directorate General for Competition noted that PPC maintains monopolies in the power supply and production markets, adding that large-scale industrial enterprises such as Alumunium SA have no other options to turn to. Aluminium SA ranks as PPC’s largest electricity consumer, absorbing five percent of the country’s total amount consumed, and 40 percent of all high-voltage consumption in Greece.

The Directorate General for Competition noted that, based on the scale of its power requirements, Aluminium SA, and all other energy-intensive consumers, cannot rely on any private-sector electricity supplier or imports. It added that, in Greece, PPC controls all of the country’s hydropower and lignite stations, which offer the lowest-cost means for power production. Importing electricity does not stand as a reliable alternative for consumers such as Aluminium SA, entirely dependent on PPC, the Directorate General for Competition noted.