Minister, lenders to tackle energy issues at end of week

Energy minister Giorgos Stathakis and the lender representatives have scheduled a meeting for the end of this week, sources informed, with the aim of resolving pending energy-sector issues, or, at least, putting them on track towards settlement.

The main power utility PPC’s bailout-required sale of units representing 40 percent of its lignite capacity, as well as a road map for the natural gas market’s full liberalization, expected by the end of the year, stand as the key issues.

At present, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition and Greek officials remain at odds over the content of PPC’s unit sale package.

A letter forwarded by the DG Comp to the Greek energy ministry last week reiterated the Brussels authority’s rejection of an intention by Greek officials to include state-controlled PPC’s ageing Amynteo lignite-fired facility, located in Greece’s north, on the sale list. The DG Comp appears to favor this unit’s replacement by PPC’s more modern Megalopoli facility, located in the Peloponnese.

In its letter, the DG Comp rejects a Greek argument claiming PPC would be comparatively disadvantaged – in terms of unit lifespans – if the more modern Megalopoli facility is sold to investors, leaving PPC with older facilities, including Amynteo, which requires a major upgrade if its lifespan is to be prolonged.

The DG Comp, in the letter, also stressed PPC’s lignite sale ordeal needs to be settled as time is running out.

According to sources, the energy ministry is working on various scenarios, still under wraps, ahead of this week’s meeting.

As for the gas market reforms, a solution for DEPA’s (Public Gas Corporation) reduced market presence has yet to be found. A previous Greek proposal was rejected a while ago.