Gov’t sureness of firm interest in PPC units ‘unwarranted’

Government officials are confident investors will express a solid interest in the main power utility PPC’s bailout-required sale list of lignite-fired power stations, even though its details remain unknown.

However, it already seems highly likely that PPC’s two lignite-fired power stations in Amynteo, northern Greece, forced to stop operating as a result of last weekend’s landslide at the regional mine supplying these units, will be excluded from the sale list.

Even so, the revisions to the sale list, expected to represent 40 percent of PPC’s lignite-fired power station capacity, will not alter the scheduling of this list’s delivery. PPC will aim to present its list to the energy ministry by the end of this month, as was planned prior to the landslide.

Energy minister Giorgos Stathakis and other officals yesterday reiterated that the level of interest being expressed by investor’s for the utility’s lignite-fired power stations is already substantial.

The sale package’s mix and price tags to be placed on units by PPC will be crucial to the success of the sale endeavor. A clearer indication of investor intentions can be expected once the procedure’s consultants have finalized the PPC sale list.

As the mix of units to be included in PPC’s sale package remains unknown at this stage, the government’s claims of a strong investor interest already being generated is unwarranted, prospective buyers told energypress.

The Amynteo landslide has had widespread impact. Residents of the nearby Anargyroi village, forced to abandon their hometown, are expecting expropriation money to cover relocation costs. This will be a demanding task for PPC, under financial strain. The village’s mass relocation to another spot will, as a result, not be easily achieved, pundits contend.

The resulting closure of PPC’s two Amynteo lignite-fired power stations, which has relied on coal supply from the landslide-affected mine, has raised concerns of electricity shortages during the high-demand periods in the summer. Authorities have countered these fears by noting the Amynteo power stations will resume operating as they will be fed coal to be transported from other mines.

At this stage, the energy ministry has remained reserved on whether it will hold PPC accountable for the landslide at the mine. The ministry is awaiting the results of an investigation being conducted.