Energy prior actions met, power surcharge hike avoided

Two pending energy-sector prior actions needed by Greece for the disbursement of a bailout subtranche of 2.8 billion euros have been fulfilled, energypress sources informed late last night, but details have remained under wraps.

It appears that repeated meetings between energy ministry officials and the creditor representatives, especially the European Commission, have led to agreements for the renewable energy (RES) special account’s deficit, managed by LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator, and the natural gas proportion to be offered by DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, to suppliers through its gas auctions.

Despite the lack of any details at this stage, it is considered certain that a hike to the RES-supporting ETMEAR surcharge included on electricity bills – as a means of eliminating the RES special account deficit – has been avoided.

The country’s lenders appear to have taken a step back on the pressure applied for such a surcharge increase and are prepared to wait for the RES special account’s deficit to be wiped out by the end of 2017 and not in June of the same year, as was intitially requested.

This compromise indicates that the lenders now consider Greece’s new RES framework, ratified in the summer, as a legitimate and sustainable solution following previous doubts.

As a result, electricity suppliers will cover the RES special account’s deficit biggest amount. Supplier contributions will be based on their respective electricity market shares, meaning that PPC, which currently controls 89 percent of Greece’s retail electricity market, will be chiefly responsible for as long as it dominates the market.

The two sides also appear to have reached a compromise deal for the DEPA gas release issue. The lenders had initially demanded that the Greek natural gas corporation double its proportion of gas offered to suppliers through its auctions from 10 percent to 20 percent as a move intended to intensify competition. An agreement for a level of about 16 percent is believed to have been reached for 2017, while this figure is expected to be gradually increased until 2020.