DG Comp spots hydropower unit manipulation practices at PPC

A formula determining when main power utility PPC’s hydropower units are brought into play for contributions to the grid has been tampered with to influence the System Marginal Price (SMP), the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition has found, according to Greek daily Kathimerini.

This finding is linked to a probe conducted by DG Comp officials at the headquarters of main power utility PPC and IPTO, the power grid operator, following invasions earlier this year to examine whether the utility is manipulating its wholesale electricity prices.

It is believed that PPC has been informed of the findings by the European Commission and expected to deliver explanations.

Officials in Brussels are now already writing up a decision, based on the DG Comp findings, which is expected to be finalized in autumn. This decision will coincide with the market test concerning the bailout-required list of PPC lignite-fired units to be offered for sale. Hydropower stations will also be added to the sale list if investor interest in the lignite-fired units is insufficient.

According to sources, the DG Comp will take action against PPC for its market manipulation practices, which could result in fines representing as much as 10 percent of the utility’s turnover.

PPC will not be able to shoulder such a burden, given its current strain, and, as a result, will be forced to add hydropower units to the sales list, sources have informed.

Following their ambush of the PPC and IPTO headquarters in February, DG Comp officials returned to PPC’s headquarters earlier this month.