Energy deputy in Brussels for electricity market negotiations

Deputy energy minister Gerassimos Thomas (photo) and the ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou are both in Brussels to negotiate measures for the electricity market’s liberalization.

The Greek officials are scheduled to remain until September 5 for meetings with the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete and other Brussels officials, the intention being to pave the way for ensuing negotiations concerning the Greek economy’s post-bailout monitoring.

Thomas, the energy deputy, will present the recently elected Greek government’s plan for the energy sector, including its decision to abolish NOME auctions. They are seen as a loss-incurring measure for power utility PPC, obligated to offer below-cost wholesale electricity to independent suppliers since 2015.

Government plans entailing a partial privatization of distribution network operator DEDDIE and closure of old lignite-fired power stations run by PPC are also on the Brussels agenda.

In exchange for the termination of NOME auctions, which were introduced to reduce PPC’s retail electricity market dominance, the Greek officials will present a lignite unit withdrawal schedule that includes PPC’s Amynteo, Megalopoli III and Kardia power stations.

The European Commission’s overall position remains unknown.

The Greek government intends to renegotiate an older term committing PPC to reduce its retail electricity market share to less than 50 percent by the end of this year, sources informed. Athens will aim for a softer target of between 60 and 65 percent, the sources added.

More clarity on where the two sides stand is expected next week, when a team of Brussels technocrats is expected in Athens for further negotiations.