Electricity retail market at a standstill; NOME unlikely

For quite some time now, companies with interests in Greece’s retail electricity market have been at a standstill awaiting the much-heralded NOME-type auctions for greater wholesale market access, intensified competition, and lower costs. But the plan now appears likely to be shelved following Sunday’s election victory by the leftist Syriza party, which heads a coalition government.

At the end of December, PPC, the Public Power Corporation, continued to hold a dominant share of Greece’s retail electricity market with an overshadowing 97 percent share, while private-sector companies, vertically integrated and not, shared the remainder, according to data provided by LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator.

A closer look at PPC’s consumer profiles shows that, of the 97 percent, 10.6 percent are high-voltage consumers, 64.67 percent belong to the low-voltage category, while 21.52 percent are medium-voltage consumers.

Terna Group’s Heron holds a 1.04 percent share of the electricity retail market, which is almost equally split between low and medium-voltage consumers.

Elpedison, a joint venture concerning ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum), Edison, and the Bobolas Group, has a 0.94 percent share with low-voltage consumers representing 0.57 percent and medium-voltage consumers 0.36 percent.

Mytilineos Group’s Protergia holds a 0.28 percent share of the retail market, with its medium-voltage consumers accounting for 0.17 percent and low-voltage consumers 0.11 percent.

Among the retail market players that are not vertically integrated, or do not operate their own production facilities, few have any noteable business activity to present.

Green holds a 0.3 percent share of the retail market, all low-voltage consumption. Watt+Volt holds a 0.19 percent share, with 0.18 percent represented by low-voltage consumption, the other 0.01 percent by medium-voltage. Voltera has a 0.14 percent share, all medium-voltage. NRG holds a 0.08 percent share of the retail market, equally divided between low and medium-voltage consumption.

All these firms are engaged in cross-border transactions, securing long-term import contracts at relatively low prices, which, to a great degree, limits their reliance on the System Marginal Price and its fluctuations.

All the aforememtioned companies have prepared promotional strategies in anticipation of the introduction of NOME-type auctions, believing that the time has come for a renewed attempt at opening up Greece’s retail electricity market following the sector’s crisis prompted by the collapse of Energa and Hellas Power, which marked the initial effort’s untimely demise.

However, the country’s latest political developments do not seem to favor the development of increased competition.