Major electricity suppliers keen to also enter gas market

The local electricity supply market’s major players are examining the prospect of offering combined gas-and-electricity packages to consumers, a trend being widely established in other parts of Europe.

Based on the local gas reforms timeline, part of the bailout agreement, the retail gas market will be fully liberalized for industrial consumers in 2016, the business sector in 2017, and household consumers in 2018.

Electricity supply companies already in business, especially major enterprises, are preparing their future company plans in anticipation of these dates. Energypress has been informed that certain suppliers have already launched efforts to lure industrial consumers, who, based on the bailout’s gas market agreement, will be permitted to look beyond their respective regional EPA companies and choose the gas suppliers of their choice as of the beginning of 2016.

Company expectations of the natural gas market’s commercial prospects are generally subdued at this stage as a result of the relatively small segment being liberalized. However, high profit margins, at 15 percent, enjoyed by the country’s existing regional EPA gas supply monopolies in the wider Athens area, Thessaloniki, and Thessalia, in the mid-northeast, are serving as an incentive for new players.

The sector’s large-scale energy groups are believed to delaying the finalization of their investment plans as they are waiting for certain vague legal issues in the gas reforms bill to be clarified.

Besides the field of electricity suppliers, Elinoil, the petroleum products trading company of Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), is also eyeing a share of the local natural gas retail market. Elinoil recently submitted an application to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for a gas supply license, in a bid to utilize its already established client base covering the industrial, business and household sectors.