Lack of replacement plan for RAE board threatens market

As Environment and Energy Minister Panos Skourletis presses on with preparing prior actions needed in the energy sector to help secure Greece’s next subtranche from lenders, while also engaging in ongoing gas pipeline diplomacy, he seems to have forgotten one crucial issue that threatens to affect the energy market’s proper functioning. He has yet to publish a recruitment notice for new board members at RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, whose seven-member board will soon be down to three members as the terms of four officials expire over the coming weeks. A majority vote for decision making at RAE would not be possible if just three of seven members are left on the board.

The tenures of two board members, Giorgos Lagaris and Kyriakos Vlahos, end on November 20, while the terms of two more members, Mihalis Thomadakis and Miltos Aslanoglou, expire on December 2.

Even though this concern comes at a crucial time for the country’s energy sector, facing a series of major reforms, little attention has so far been given to RAE’s board. A recruitment notice needs to be published urgently if the authority is to be able to continue operating normally.

Based on regulations, as a first step, the notice would need to remain posted for 30 days before a further 30-day period is provided for the energy minister to consider candidates. Then, the new recruits will need to be approved by Parliament’s Committee on Institutions and Transparency. All this boils down to meaning that even if the recruitment notice were to be published tomorrow, the procedure would not be completed until the end of December.

As for the current board’s membership, all members hail from within the authority’s ranks. Not a single member with a market background is on the board. This is a concern for many energy officials who believe private-sector interests are not being represented on the RAE board.