Effort made to clear up public compensation surcharge mess

The country’s lenders appear to have demanded a clear timeline from the Greek government clarifying unrecovered public compensation surcharge (YKO) amounts the main power utility PPC stands to receive once a cross-examination of related market data has been completed.

Consumers in Greece were charged a total of 2.5 billion euros in public compensation surcharge, added to electricity bills, between 2012 and 2015, according to data released by PPC yesterday.

The electricity market is in a state of confusion as related data has not been kept up to date by officials. The high level of unpaid electricity bills owed to PPC by consumers and failure of market operators to keep YKO-related data updated has prompted RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to launch an examination, now in progress.

Public compensation surcharge amounts, raised through electricity bills, are primarily used to subsidize higher-cost electricity generation on the non-interconnected islands.

An older RAE decision had set the YKO amounts owed to PPC at 810.5 million and 848.9 million euros for 2012 and 2013, respectively, but, at this stage, no precise data exists to indicate the amounts collected by the utility during this two-year period. RAE is expecting related data from the IPTO and HEDNO operators within the next few weeks. Both are involved in the overall procedure of YKO collections and payments. RAE is expected to finalize its examination in May and hand over finalized results to energy minister Giorgos Stathakis within June.

Early estimates indicate that PPC’s recoverable YKO amounts are well below figures provided by the utility itself. Downward revisions by RAE are expected.

State-controlled PPC wants to increase the YKO amount by 735 million euros but the government, desperate to avoid any bill increases whatsoever for consumers as a result of the further political damage this would cause to the coalition’s sagging popularity among voters, is not expected to endorse such a plan.

However, energy ministry officials are considering offsetting any needed YKO surcharge increases by reducing a RES-supporting ETMEAR surcharge for a neutral effect.