Industrialists stress heavy energy-cost burden to minister

The country’s energy-intensive industrial enterprises are holding back on signing new tariff deals with PPC, the main power utility, because their finances do not add up unless a package of energy-related measures agreed to by the government – widely applied throughout Europe – is implemented, members of EVIKEN, the Association of Industrial Energy Consumers, have informed energy minister Panos Skourletis.

The industrialists want an EU guideline concerning regulated charges (Article 189) as well as a guideline for special consumption tax (Article 96), which dates back to 2003, to be implemented before finalizing their agreements with PPC. These measures would not further burden the state budget, they pointed out.

Overall, numerous local energy-intensive industrial enterprises, weighed down by exorbitantly high energy costs and Greece’s ongoing recession, now roughly six years long, are struggling to remain afloat. Also, European rivals are enjoy increasing comparative advantages over Greek industries as a result of the adoption of guidelines by their respective governments.

Worse still, PPC is scheduled to introduce new tariff rates next month, which are expected to be significantly higher as a result of the abolishment of a 20 percent discount offered to major-scale industries, which was agreed to at a recent extraordinary shareholders meeting. The preceding discount rate will be replaced by a smaller discounts divided in sub-categories, based on consumer profiles.

Besides the needed implementation of the aforementioned measures, the energy-intensive industrial sector is also waiting for the introduction of the “disruption management” plan, to enable energy cost savings for major-scale industry in exchange for shifting energy usage to off-peak hours whenever required by the grid operator. Its arrival has been delayed by demands raised by certain renewable energy source (RES) officials, seeking lower financial contributions by RES firms to the plan’s mechanism.

The industrial sector cannot establish a clear picture of its overall energy-related cost levels unless matters such as the aforementioned are resolved and implemented. Certain local industrial sector officials believe the government now fully comprehends the frail positions of industry and the need to implement measures that will help Greek enterprises stand up against fellow EU competitors.