More time likely for energy reforms as lenders hold back

Although Greece’s deadline for eight energy-sector measures agreed to in last month’s third bailout agreement expires today and finalized measures have yet to be delivered, it seems that lenders are willing to give local officials some extra time, judging by government sources and the stance maintained, until now, by lenders, who seem to be showing understanding and not applying pressure.

It is believed the country will be given until the end of October, or, possibly early November, to deliver the required measures. Also, creditors are not expected to conduct their first review of progress made any sooner than mid-November.

“Lenders have not raised an issue about the September deadline. As things have turned out, the elections and resulting government have altered time schedules,” remarked an energy ministry source, who underlined that officials and related departments are currently pressing ahead so that Greece may fulfil its obligations within a reasonable period of time.

This is also the case for government’s entire team, as was highlighted recently by Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos.

Energy Minister Panos Skourletis noted yesterday that Greece’s alternative proposal for the sale of IPTO, the power grid operator, will be presented on October 15.

Greek officials have pointed out that some of the required energy measures are at an advanced stage while others still require some discussion with lenders.

The measures being prepared by Greek officials are comprised of a NOME-type auction plan intended to reduce main power utility PPC’s electricity market share; implementation of transitional and permanent CAT mechanisms; wholesale market revisions to protect certain electricity production facilities from operating below cost; offsetting debt issues between PPC and market operators; gas market reforms; a ‘power disruption’ management plan enabling energy cost savings for major-scale industry in exchange for shifting energy usage to off-peak hours whenever required by IPTO, the power grid operator; cost-based PPC tariffs and replacement of a 20 percent discount offered to industrial consumers; and, finally, the establishment of three mobile units to tackle illicit fuel trade.