Gov’t battling to save PPC unit sale package fundamentals

The Greek government is battling to save the fundamentals of its bailout-required sale package of main power utility PPC units, submitted to the European Commission for approval. Negotiations between the two sides have yet to be completed.

Government officials believe European Commission objections to the local sale package proposal, currently a lignite-only offer, are manageable. As a result, the government has forwarded detailed documents to Brussels in an effort to maintain as much of the initial plan as possible.

The initial sale package includes the state-controlled utility’s two lignite-fired stations in Amynteo (550 MW), Meliti I (330 MW), and a license for Meliti II (450 MW). Overall, the Greek proposal represents 36 percent of PPC’s lignite-fired units and 42 percent of its mines.

A few weeks ago, Greece’s energy ministry received a list of enquiries from the European Commission concerning PPC’s time schedule for lignite-sector disinvestments. Detailed, fully documented responses were provided to Brussels, local officials told energypress.

A reaction from Brussels to these details is now being awaited, meaning that the Greek government’s PPC sale package is at the mercy of the country’s lenders.

If rejected, an alternative plan will need to be enforced, which represents a dreaded prospect for Greek officials. They want to avoid a Plan B for two main reasons. Firstly, it could include PPC’s Agios Dimitrios power station (1,450 MW) and, secondly, may get the ball rolling for the addition of hydropower stations to the PPC sale package. The Greek government has, so far, ruled out such a prospect.

According to pundits, the Greek government, for the time being, does not have anything to announce for a Plan B should the initial plan be rejected by Brussels. This does not necessarily mean that an alternative plan has yet to be prepared or is not being worked on at present.

The Greek proposal anticipates that PPC’s lignite-related reduction, by 40 percent, will be achieved beyond 2020-2021, sources informed, as PPC’s lignite capacity is expected to fluctuate over the next few years. The utility’s Kardia facility is scheduled for withdrawal in 2019, while a new unit under construction, Ptolemaida V, is planned to start operating in 2022.