Electricity producers set for ‘interruptability’ fee returns

Energy Ministry, SPEF (Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers) and IPTO (Power Grid Operator) officials are currently engaged in a torrent of talks aiming for the return, to electricity producers, of unallocated demand response mechanism (interruptability) funds concerning 2016.

According to a ministerial decision through which the demand response mechanism was initiated early in 2016, transitional supply security fee (MTAE) amounts withheld from electricity producers on a monthly basis and determined by their respective revenues, are injected into a special supply security fund that needs to be balanced at the end of each year and, separately, upon expiry of the mechanism. Unallocated funds need to be returned to electricity producers, according to the ministerial decision.

The demand response mechanism was introduced to enable major industrial enterprises to be compensated when the TSO (ADMIE/IPTO) requests that they shift their energy usage by lowering or stopping consumption during high-demand peak hours so as to balance the electricity system’s needs.

According to SPEF estimates, unallocated amounts in 2016 exceeded 10 million euros, which means that 25 percent of the MTAE-related amount withheld from electricity producers, including RES producers, will need to be returned.

SPEF officials contend that the return of this MTAE-related amount to electricity producers is particularly crucial for PV producers as the 3.6 percent amount taken from their revenues is disproportionately high given the sub-sector’s narrow profit margin. The return to producers of the unallocated MTAE-related amount would reduce the contribution of PV producers in 2016 to 2.7 percent of their revenues.

The MTAE contribution rates also stand to drop for all other producers, including wind energy producers, from 1.8 percent to 1.35 percent, and small-scale hydropower producers, from 0.8 percent to 0.6 percent.

SPEF sources noted that minor yet pending account balancing issues concerning thermal producers have held up the return process, adding that the energy ministry is determined to have the entire issue resolved.