Key energy ministry official holds first session with lender technocrats

The new energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou is expected to hold her first meeting today with technocrats representing the country’s lenders, currently in Athens.

Recent tariff hikes at power utility PPC, a campaign intended to improve the utility’s electricity bills collection record and a government plan for the gradual withdrawal of lignite units will all be presented by the energy ministry official.

Sdoukou also intends to present the government’s case supporting the need to end NOME auctions as well as details concerning the target model’s progress and finalized schedule.

NOME auctions have obligated PPC to offer below-cost wholesale electricity to rivals as a market share contraction measure over the past few years. The measure has affected the utility’s financial results and failed to produce results.

The ministry is seeking to establish a fresh setting for the country’s energy-sector negotiations with the country’s lenders, especially the European Commission, on Greece’s energy direction, the electricity market’s structure and PPC’s place in it.

The Greek bailout program includes objectives that have fallen too far behind to be achieved such as PPC’s market share contraction targets and disinvestment of lignite units.

The recently appointed energy minister Costis Hatzidakis is seeking a new overall solution for the country’s electricity market that would entail the adoption and implementation of EU strategic planning, as well as the eradication of any systemic threats, such as a possible collapse of PPC.

As part of this approach, the energy ministry has announced it will accelerate the withdrawal of lignite units and revise the National Energy and Climate Plan for even more ambitious RES targets.

The delay of a post-bailout appraisal of the Greek economy until mid-November, instead of October 31, should give the government additional time to prepare the details of its various energy sector plans, including lignite unit withdrawals, the termination of NOME auctions and privatization of distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO.