Majority of energy issues must be settled by end of June

The Greek government has just two weeks to complete at least eleven pending energy-related issues, according to the country’s revised bailout agreement, whose details were published yesterday, highlighting just how crucial and relentless the current month is for the reforms effort.

The bailout agreement’s section on the energy sector notes that “extensive reforms are needed for Greece’s energy market to adopt EU directives, become more modern and competitive, without monopolies and ineffectiveness, achieve greater RES and natural gas penetration, and pass on these benefits to consumers.”

Main power utility PPC, whose prospective reduced market dominance is a key aspect of Greece’s needed energy reforms, will need to make official by the end of June a bailout-required plan entailing the sale of at least 20 percent of its subsidiary form IPTO, the power grid operator, to a strategic investor. A tender will then need to be launched in July and a prefered strategic investor announced within October.

Should this plan fail to make progress, Greek authorities will be forced to announce, in October, a deadline for offers leading to the full sale of IPTO. This alternative tender, dreaded by the government, would need to be completed by December to enable the full privatization of IPTO within 2017.

In another measure intended to lessen PPC’s dominance, NOME auctions, to provide third parties with access to the utility’s low-cost lignite and hydropower sources, are scheduled to be launched in September. Independent traders will be offered an electricity amoung equivalent to eight percent of the total used in the grid in 2015. The objective is to reduce PPC’s wholesale and retail electricity market shares by 20 percent until 2017. These respective market shares will need to have contracted to less than 50 percent by 2020.

Fast action is also needed on new natural gas network usage fees which DESFA, the natural gas grid operator, will need to submit to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

By the end of June, PPC will need to have completed negotiations with energy-intensive industrial consumers for new individualized agreements. The Greek State, PPC’s majority shareholder, will authorize the utility to offer flexible, cost-based tariffs for the industrial sector at a PPC general shareholders meeting on June 30.

Greek officials will also need to forward a permanent CAT mechanism plan to the European Commission within June.

New legal framework for the RES sector will need to be ratified in Greek Parliament by the end of this month.

Also by the end of June, Greek lawmakers must ratify a revised RES-supporting ETMEAR surcharge included on electricity bills to ensure the RES special account’s sustainability. Its deficit will need to be eliminated within twelve months, or no later than June, 2017.

PPC and LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator, will need to settle their debt differences by the end of June.

Energy tax revisions and natural gas market revisons must also be finalized by the end of the month.