Energy market troubled by PPC payment delays to operators

Accumulated arrears owed by the main power utility PPC to the country’s two electricity market operators IPTO (power grid operator) and HEDNO (Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator), which, according to the utility, are not being paid as a result of its cashflow problems caused by a mass of arrears owed by clients, are threatening the functional abilities of the two operators and Greece’s wider energy market.

Though widely unknown, the two operators, both still wholly owned PPC subsidiaries, have been applying pressure on the utility for the amounts they are owed.

According to energypress sources, HEDNO has informed RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, of its initiatives. The operator has also asked the authority to take action of its own.

IPTO appears to have taken its cause even further by filing lawsuits against its parent company, some of which are scheduled to be heard soon.

The same sources informed that PPC owes roughly 200 million euros to HEDNO. The operator is relying on this amount to compensate island-based RES producers injecting output into the system as well as suppliers who are threatening to stop supplying the operator if they are not paid. This would severely affect HEDNO’s operational ability.

IPTO is owed roughly 300 million euros by PPC, but as IPTO also owes an amount to PPC, the net amount owed by the utility to its subsidiary works out to approximately 150 million euros. PPC’s failure to provide this amount to IPTO is, in turn, negatively impacting LAGIE, another electricity market operator, as it, too, is unable to meet RES producer payments. IPTO is also struggling to meet payments for natural gas-fueled thermal power stations, but the delays here are slightly shorter.

RAE, as a result of all these problems, is now investigating PPC’s transactions. The authority has requested detailed data on the issue from PPC and is expected to keep asking for more.

PPC is suspected of withholding amounts from the operators in order to utilize the money for its own corporate needs, including its investment program.

RAE is expected to soon intervene as the cashflow problems being encountered by the operators threaten to destabilize the entire energy market.