Industry braces for electricity rate talks

Negotiations between PPC, the public power corporation, and large-scale industrial firms being supplied medium-voltage electricity are expected to commence immediately after the summer in search of a deal covering new rates to apply for  2015 and 2016.

These imminent negotiations will be held as a follow-up to a first round, concerning rates for the period 2013-2014, that was marred by numerous delays and pressures before eventually leading to an agreement, last spring, with about 100 firms consuming at least 13 Gwh on an annual basis.

High-voltage rates, like medium-voltage rates, are liberalized. Setting their price requires negotiation with PPC, the only supplier at present.

Negotiations for industrial rates covering the 2013-2014 period – the process essentially provided a first test for PPC in its effort to set the price for liberalized categories – required numerous meetings, mediation by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, even court appeals, before a deal was finally struck.

The cost of energy for high-consumption enterprises is a crucial factor when shaping total production cost, and, therefore, level of competitiveness.

Meanwhile, the future of an electricity cost-cutting measure for industrial firms, achieved through “disruption management”, is said to be uncertain. The measure, locally referred to as “diakopsimotita”, meaning disruptiveness, allows IPTO (locally referred to as ADMIE), the Independent Electricity Transmission System Operator, to establish deals with high-consumption industries that give the former the right to restrict or disrupt electricity supply whenever it is deemed necessary for the overall system’s stability, in exchange for rate discounts. The European Commission has blocked the operator’s ability to implement the measure, which had been legislated in autumn 2013.

Officials of Greece’s Environment, Energy & Climate Change ministry asked the European Commission to speed up its processing procedures for the measure, during talks with the country’s creditor representatives last week, sources said.

Over the past few months, the ministry has been in constant touch with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy in search of a formula that will allow for the measure’s implementation. Similar measures are valid in most European countries.