Greece’s energy market is once again entering uncharted waters as the government prepares to announce a second nationwide lockdown.
A widespread ban on transportation expected to be announced by Prime Minister Kyriakos today as part of the lockdown measures comes as a blow for the petroleum products market.
The fuel refining, trading and retail sectors will be the first to suffer lockdown-related consequences. Lower sales in the year’s first nine-month period are now expected to sink further.
Business concerns are also evident in the electricity and natural gas markets, where payments of energy bills were slow prior to the latest lockdown and are expected to worsen.
Retailers warn that any savings used by many consumers to service energy bills during the first lockdown will have dwindled.
There is much concern over the impact on power utility PPC, the electricity market’s dominant player whose scale promises to cause wider repercussions in the sector amid adverse conditions.
PPC has made preparatory moves to bolster its position, initiatives including securitization of unpaid receivables, an effort expected to bring in some 500 million euros, and an intensified hunt for payments from consumers regarded as able but unwilling to service electricity bill arrears. However, given its scale, PPC will inevitably feel pressure during the lockdown as an increased number of consumers will struggle to service energy bills.
These delays will have wider energy-sector ramifications, including on the RES special account, already in deficit territory and projected, prior to the latest lockdown, to end the year at 284 million euros.
The public service compensation (YKO) account, subsidizing high-cost electricity generation on Greece’s non-interconnected islands and offering lower-cost electricity for underprivileged households, will also be pressured as cash inflow from electricity bill surcharges drops.