Gas market figures still sturdy, clearer picture in mid-April

Unpaid receivable figures have remained subdued in Greece’s gas market and sales are still steady despite the coronavirus pandemic’s wide financial effects.

This resilience has been attributed to the seasonal nature of Greece’s retail gas market, primarily serving heating needs between October and March, contrary to the wider use of gas use in other countries.

The coronavirus crisis emerged towards the end of winter season’s heating needs, a lucky break for the sector as suppliers are not expected to incur household-related losses.

However, other consumer categories remain a concern for gas supply companies. Retailers, restaurants, tourism sector enterprises as well as countless other enterprises forced to disrupt or significantly scale down their operations could have trouble servicing gas bills.

The extent to which such hard-hit businesses will be able to service their gas bills for the rest of this year remains unclear. Gas bill payment records could deteriorate between now and December.

A clearer market picture of the coronavirus pandemic’s financial impact on Greece’s gas market is expected to emerge around mid-April, when the lockdown of the economy will have clocked up one month.

The government has promised support measures for both the gas and electricity sectors. The energy ministry is working on establishing a support mechanism.

It is estimated the country’s energy suppliers will require a working capital sum of around one billion euros, well over an initial estimate of 650 million euros, for liquidity protection if the lockdown stretches beyond June.