Industry chief offers sector’s views ahead of PPC meeting

Theodoros Fessas, president of SEV, the Hellenic Association of Industrialists, has forwarded a letter to main power utility PPC chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis outlining the industrial sector’s views on expected electricity tariff revisions for the sector as well as other requests intended to compensate for the abolishment of a 20 percent discount for industry, a bailout demand.

The SEV chief’s letter, offering a framework for the industrial sector’s ties with PPC, was forwarded ahead of this coming Monday’s shareholders meeting at the utility.

In the letter, Fessas notes unilateral actions determining industrial tariffs without prior completion of negotiations are prohibited by market regulations. Any approval of new industrial tariffs at next Monday’s PPC shareholders meeting will be regarded as a form of unilateral action and would undermine current negotiations between PPC and the country’s major-scale industries, the SEV chief stressed. These negotiations are being conducted separately based on consumer profiles. Unilateral action would also raise competition issues, considering PPC’s market dominance, Fessas noted.

The SEV chief underlined that unilateral action errors on industrial pricing policy committed at a previous PPC shareholders meeting in February, 2014 must not be repeated. Industrial authorities fear unilateral action could again prompt European Commission intervention, as was the case with the 20 percent industrial tariff discount, a PPC shareholders initiative now being abolished.

The SEV letter also notes that PPC’s reduced operational costs, resulting from lower oil and natural gas prices, down considerably compared to two years ago, as well as the abolishment of regulatory charges in 2015, provide a basis for cost-reflective tariff negotiations with industry.

Fessas also pointed out that, until now, all verdicts concerning Greek industrial tariff disputes between the sector and PPC have vindicated industrialists, both at domestic and European Commission levels. The SEV chief noted it would be constructive for PPC and the industrial sector to eventually establish cooperative relations.