Industrial energy costs high, markets shut, EC report notes

Despite progress made in areas such as restriction of CO2 emissions and renewable energy source (RES) market penetration, Greece’s energy markets, especially those of electricity and gas, lack competition, from production to retail, while energy prices for the industrial sector are not competitive, the European Commission has noted on Greece, in a single market progress report.

Reference is also made to Greece’s dependence on energy imports, oil and fossil fuels, which has widened the energy balance deficit between 2009 and 2014. Greece’s dependence on oil and solid fuels is comparatively higher than that of other EU member states, the report noted.

However, some progress has been made in restricting oil and petroleum products, as well as solid fuels, by 11 percent and five percent, respectively, since 1995, combined with an increased RES presence in Greece’s energy mix, the report pointed out.

The absence of fair competition in the electricity market, dominated by the main power utility PPC, was also noted in the report. The utility’s market share needs to be reduced by 25 percent in the short term and 50 percent by 2020, meaning that the government needs to implement effective measures promoting competition, from retail to production, the report reminded.

As for the gas market, the report made note of the dominance of DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, and regional gas supply monopolies, but noted measures for gas release to other companies, made with the aim of opening up the market to competition, were currently in progress.

Wholesale price levels in both the local electricity and natural gas markets were above the EU average, the report stressed, adding that energy costs for Greek industrial enterprises are higher than in other EU member states and the US.

Although electricity prices were fully liberalized in 2013, no effective entry into the market has taken place, the report noted.

Greece’s energy-sector taxation, as a percentage of GDP, ranks among the highest in the EU, the report pointed out.