Independent suppliers suspect foul play between utilities ELTA, PPC

Swift retail electricity market share gains made by ELTA (Hellenic Post) have prompted concerns among independent power supplier officials, suspecting foul play, or implicit cooperation, between ELTA and fellow utility PPC, the main power utility, still dominant but facing bailout-required market share contraction targets.

In just three months, between December and February, ELTA, a relatively new arrival in the retail electricity market, increased its market share from 0.3 percent to 0.6 percent, a 100 percent increase, according to the latest monthly report published by LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator.

Independent suppliers active in the highly competitive retail electricity market for considerably longer periods have made far slower progress. They have been forced to adjust their offers to extremely narrow profit margins.

The three main independent players, whose portfolios include power generation facilities, continue to hold modest shares of the market. Heron is at 3.4 percent, Protergia at 3.45 percent and Elpedison at 3.47 percent. Watt & Volt, an independent player without power generation facilities, holds a 1.4 percent share.

ELTA has achieved its swift market share gains by attracting major-scale consumers such as retail chains and industrial enterprises, officials closely monitoring the situation have noted. Some of these electricity supply offers made by ELTA are believed to be below cost.

ELTA’s bidding policy at the NOME auctions, providing independent players with access to PPC’s lower-cost lignite and hydropower sources, is also being viewed with suspicion. At the most recent NOME session, staged last month, ELTA acquired 40 MW/h for its 0.6 percent of the market, when suppliers whose market shares are more than double this figure acquired smaller quantities.