Energy savings bill to create lucrative market in Greece

Digital power meters will need to be installed for all new electricity connections, while apartments with central heating systems must be equipped with calorimeters, used for precise measurement of energy consumption in buildings, as of 2016, according to a draft bill submitted to Greek Parliament yesterday. It contains energy efficiency requirements as part of the bailout agreement.

The draft bill, which sets a national energy efficiency objective for 2020, promises to create a lucrative market as the country has fallen well behind in this domain.

The legislative effort also demands energy-related modernization of at least three percent of the country’s public buildings each year. This could prove overambitious for Greece’s public sector, currently hampered by wider cashflow issues.

As for the household sector, all apartments with central heating systems must have independent calorimeters installed by the end of 2016. Though the requirement’s cost will burden property owners, EU subsidies may become available.

Digital power meters will need to be installed at all new buildings as well in full-revamp projects, as of January 1, 2016.

This essentially means that HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, in charge of power meter installations, will need to implement the imminent law’s requirements ahead of the launch of a pilot program supervised by the operator for the installation of 200,000 digital meters around Greece. An international tender for this latter project has yet to be completed following several deadline extensions. Bidders have just submitted their offers.

Compared to energy efficiency progress made in most other parts of Europe, Greece lags well behind in objectives set for 2020.

According to market estimates, over one billion euros worth of investments need to be made in the near future for energy efficiency upgrades to buildings and infrastructure, including at hospitals, schools, swimming pools, as well as lighting facilities for local and national road networks.

Establishing a legal framework for energy efficiency in Greece has proved to be a major struggle. A previous draft bill had also been forwarded for public consultation procedures in September, 2014 but never made it to Parliament for ratification. Amid the process, the European Commission decided, last June, to take Greece to the European Court as a result of the country’s failure to adopt EU energy efficiency directives. The current draft bill follows that threat.