Skourletis, lenders launch second review’s energy sector talks

A number of issues are expected to be tabled at a meeting in Athens today between energy minister Panos Skourletis and creditor representatives, launching the start of the bailout program’s second review of energy prior actions.

The meeting was originally planned for last Friday but was rescheduled for today after the Greek minister reported feeling unwell.

Skourletis is expected to inform the creditor representatives on a decision reached just days ago by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to keep a RES-supporting ETMEAR surcharge unchanged for all consumer categories.

The lenders have requested RAE to review the progress made on the RES special account’s deficit every three months. If a lack of improvement is detected, then the ETMEAR surcharge appearing on electricity bills, a key source of revenue for the RES special account, will need to be revised accordingly.

Procedures concerning the Greek natural gas market’s liberalization are also on today’s agenda. The two sides appear to have reached a compromise deal on the amount of gas offered by DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, to traders through its gas auctions. An agreement for a level of about 16 percent is believed to have been reached for 2017. However, other gas sector issues, such as regulatory matters and DEPA gas auction starting prices, still need to be sorted out.

Developments in the tender offering a 24 percent stake of IPTO, the power grid operator, will also be discussed. According to sources, no problems were encountered in the process entailing the submission of binding bids from potential buyers. The deadline expired on October 21. China’s State Grid International Development and Italy’s Terna submitted bids. These will be opened up and examined within the next few days. A prefered bidder will need to be announced next week or no later than October 31.

The proceedings at today’s inaugural NOME auction will also be discussed. Electricity traders were offered a total of 460 MW as the one and only package for 2016, launching an initiative to provide third parties with access to main power utility PPC’s low-cost lignite and hydropower sources as a measure to help break the utility’s market dominance.

Procedures concerning the target model, local revisions based on a European framework for an intergrated EU energy sector, will also be tabled today.

A series of preliminary meetings by officials prior to today’s session have been purely informative, sources said. No stumbling blocks were encountered during these preliminary talks. However, this does not guarantee a trouble-free ride towards the completion of the second review’s energy prior actions.