Independent producers group opposes universal service role

ESAI/HAIPP, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, has raised objections to an energy ministry legislative proposal whose ratification would require the country’s three biggest independent suppliers to share the responsibility of a universal service supplying electricity to blacklisted electricity consumers who can no longer find a supplier as a result of poor payment records at previous companies.

Under the existing regulations, the state-controlled power utility PPC, as the dominant player, is providing this universal electricity supply service to sidelined consumers.

The objective of any revisions should be to correct distortions caused by existing regulations and the way these are implemented by the network operator, a PPC subsidiary, rather than to relay the problem to far smaller competitors, the association pointed out.

The bigger independent suppliers, each currently serving between 150,000 and 200,000 customers, compared to PPC’s far bigger client base numbering 6.5 million to seven million, would be placed under considerable pressure if required to take on this universal electricity supply role, ESAI/HAIPP noted.

Under current rules, the supplier covering this universal service’s needs is theoretically chosen through a competitive procedure. However, all independent suppliers have shunned the process. As a result, the service must, by law, be provided by the dominant player – PPC, at present.

The energy ministry’s draft bill would require the country’s three biggest independent suppliers to share this universal service responsibility if bidders refuse to show up for the competitive procedure.