Independent units kept afloat by hot weather, fuel price dip

Though now into the autumn season, the summerlike hot weather over the past few days has kept electricity consumption at high levels for this time of the year. Taking into account the subdued economic activity amid the persisting recession – which has placed many enterprises and industrial units in perilous positions –  power stations, including independent gas-fueled units contributing to the grid, are producing relatively high amounts of electricity. Today’s peak consumption level is expected to reach 6,700 MW.

The ongoing difficulties entailed in importing electricity as a result of capital control restrictions has also contributed to the elevated power production levels expected from independent producers.

At present, electricity demand during the nightime hours ranges between 4 and 5 GW and increases to levels of between 6 and 7 GW for the rest of the day.

Besides various lignite-fired stations operated by main power utility PPC, the grid is also being supported by PPC’s new gas-fueled facility in the Megalopoli area, southwest Peloponnese, gas-fueled facilities operated by Elpedison, Heron, and Protergia, and, for peak-demand hours during the day, a Korinthos Power gas-run facility.

Besides benefiting from the high demand for electricity, independent gas-fuled power units are also being assisted by lower fuel prices, company officials told energypress. Lower oil prices have been rolled over to gas price levels, which, in Greece, are tagged to oil prices and revised every three months.

These factors all add up to meaning that independent gas-fuled power units, whose start-up costs are considerable, are currently not incurring losses whenever the grid operator calls them into action.

Electricity producing subsidiaries of energy companies have struggled, as highlighted by widespread first-half operational losses posted as a result of various market distortions, including the absence of a Variable Cost Recovery Mecahnism to cover start-up costs.