Hirings to boost understaffed RAE, LAGIE in the making

The Environment and Energy Ministry is preparing an amendment to a legislative bill that will permit RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, and LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator, both currently understaffed, to overcome bailout-related limits and hire additional personnel.

RAE and LAGIE are both subject to a bailout-linked bill for public sector firms, permitting one recruit for every five departures.

RAE, in particular, is under pressure as the temporary contracts of 20 employees – of 80 in total – are due to expire in about three months, meaning the institution’s workforce will soon be down to 60 members.

The functional problems encountered by both RAE and LAGIE, as a result of staff shortages, have been raised by the ministry to the country’s lenders, who, according to Greek officials, are showing understanding. Not too long ago, last December, the lenders, during a discussion on the matter, had proposed that RAE and LAGIE be reinforced with staff on loan from equivalent institutions operating in other EU member states, such as Italy and Germany.

Had such a proposal been accepted, as ministry sources have pointed out, RAE’s independence, validity of opinions, and ability to operate as an institution would all have been undermined.

LAGIE, too, faces extreme staff-shortage pressure. The operator’s new president and managing director, Michalis Filippou, has already underlined the issue. LAGIE, whose workforce currently numbers 40 persons, will soon be expected to take on additional tasks such as management of NOME auctions and the new renewable energy source (RES) and combined heat and power (CHP) support system.

The NOME auctions will be introduced to provide third parties with access to main power utility PPC’s low-cost lignite and hydropower sources as part of the bailout-related obligation to help break the utility’s dominance.