Independent suppliers gain ground despite obstacles

The still-dominant main power utility PPC appears to have lost another percentage point in its share of the country’s retail electricity market, slipping to 87.5 percent in March from 88.6 a month earlier, sources basing their views on unconfirmed data have informed energypress.

This surrendered market ground was shared among the market’s independent suppliers, with the bigger players capturing the lion’s share, the data showed.

Independendent suppliers now hold 12.5 percent of the retail electricity market, the unconfirmed data indicated. If validated, this level will represent the biggest overall share held by the independendent suppliers, surpassing last October’s high of 12.01 percent.

PPC’s anticipated loss of one percentage point in March adds to a similar-sized retreat in February following a period of stagnation between November and January.

It should be pointed out that these figures do not accurately depict actual market developments. The increased market share of independent suppliers – in volume terms – does not fully represent customer transfers from PPC but fluctuations in electricity amounts used. This is the result of PPC holding the overwhelming majority of household customers, a sector official explained, adding that, as a result, the utility gains in volume-based market share when consumption increases, as was the case during the winter.

Even so, a modest number of customers are making the move to independent suppliers, but the flow is still inadequate to ensure Greece will meet a bailout-related target requiring PPC’s market share to contract to 75.24 percent by the end of 2017. A PPC market-share drop at a rate of one percentage point per month is too slow for this target to be met.

Many independent suppliers are currently avoiding aggressive policies in a bid to draw new customers. Besides slimmer profit margins, resulting from a PPC move last July to offer 15 percent discounts to punctual customers, market uncertainty has also set in as a result of the ambiguity concerning the future of NOME auctions – introduced last October to offer independent traders access to PPC’s low-cost carbon-fired and hydropower electricity – supplier surcharge fluctuations, as well as the shape of new CATs.