EPA gas supply firms, industrialists at odds over DEPA gas auction rights

EVIKEN, the Association of Industrial Energy Consumers, and the country’s EPA regional gas suppliers are at odds over their respective participation rights in gas auctions staged by DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation.

The opposing sides have been locked in battle over their participation rights ever since the local competition committee increased the amount of gas quantities that may be offered by DEPA through its auctions from 10 percent to 15 percent of its total amount. The increase was made a month and a half ago.

EVIKEN, representing industrial consumers, insists the participation of EPA gas supply companies in the auctions severely restricts the amount of gas that may be bid on by industrial enterprises. EVIKEN is also pushing for DEPA’s percentage of gas offered through the auctions to be at least doubled.

At the other end, the EPA gas suppliers argue the auctions are meant to serve as a tool to generate competition in the supply market and, as a result, industrial enterprises should not be entitled to participate.

If the government wants to help reduce energy costs for industrial enterprises it can do so through other means, such as the “disruption management” plan – to enable 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 – now being prepared for the electricity sector, and lower special consumption taxes (EFK) on gas, the EPA gas suppliers contend.

Responding to an energypress question, a competition committee official noted it is not a priority at present to increase the percentage of gas amounts that may be offered by DEPA through its auctions beyond 15 percent. “This will be decided depending on developments and the market’s needs,” the official commented.

Last August, industrial consumers with annual consumption levels in excess of 2.2 GWh gained the right to take part in the DEPA auctions, previously restricted to industrial units consuming 100 GWh or more.

The limit on orders that may be placed by participants at the DEPA auctions has been reduced to 15 percent of the total quantity on offer, down from 25 percent, to prevent major suppliers from securing greater natural gas amounts as a means of depriving new participants from securing sizeable amounts.

EPA Attiki, supplying the wider Athens area, argues the current trading regulations are unfair. Corporate groups linked to tax file numbers of various companies under their wings can end up bidding for orders of well over the 15 percent limit imposed on each company, EPA Attiki argues, while, in its case, it cannot bid for an order of more than 15 percent as it is not part of a coprorate group.

The next DEPA auction is scheduled for late in the year and concerns supply for the first three-month period of 2016.