Ongoing legal cases threaten to delay smart meters tender

Legal action taken by Greek company Protasis, one of four second-round qualifiers in a tender offering a lucrative contract for the installation of smart meters throughout Greece, against Swiss group Landis+Gyr, which took preceding legal action of its own against the market operator staging the tender as a response to its disqualification, threatens to further complicate the overall procedure.

A verdict on the Landis+Gyr case is expected to be delivered on February 28. As things have turned out, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, staging the tender, has found an ally in Protasis in its battle against Landis+Gyr.

The Swiss-headquartered corporation was disqualified from the tender by the Greek operator as it had declared, as a sub-contractor, a production facility other than one it maintains in Corinth, west of Athens, which serves as an international hub for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

In its legal case against Landis+Gyr, Protasis supports the exact same claim made by DEDDIE/HEDNO in its decision to eliminate the Swiss company.

According to sources, if Landis+Gyr is not vindicated in its ongoing legal battle, it is prepared to take all legal means available to rejoin the tender’s shortlist, meaning the company may go all the way to the Council of State, Greece’s supreme administrative court. It appears Protasis could do the same if its legal case against Landis+Gyr is not successful.

Given such possibilities, the DEDDIE/HEDNO tender is headed for big delays of at least three to six months, maybe even a year.

Besides Protasis, three other participants have qualified for the second round of the DEDDIE/HEDNO tender, these being US corporation Itron’s Spanish subsidiary, fellow US firm Elster Rometrics, and Slovenia’s Iskraemeco.

The tender is offering a contract for the installation of approximately 7.5 million smart meters throughout the country over a ten-year period, a project budgeted at 830 million euros.