Ministry seeking fresh setting for energy sector negotiations

The energy ministry is seeking radical changes to the setting amid which imminent energy-sector negotiations with the country’s lenders, especially the European Commission, will take place.

The talks will focus on Greece’s energy direction, the electricity market’s structure and power utility PPC’s place in it.

Energy minister Costis Hatzidakis will be hoping to avoid discussion on the extent of Greece’s adherence to bailout program obligations concerning the energy sector as, quite clearly, there is much catching up to do. For example, state-controlled PPC is well behind on its retail market share contraction targets, while the utility’s disinvestment plan for lignite assets has not produced results.

Instead, Hatzidakis will seek a new overall solution for the country’s electricity market to entail the adoption and implementation of EU strategic planning and the eradication of any systemic threats, such as a possible collapse of PPC.

According to sources, the energy minister has already presented his position to EU officials ahead of the imminent arrival to Athens of European Commission technocrats, as have ministerial assistants on a recent visit to Brussels.

The recently elected Greek government’s new plan for the energy sector is not only aligned with European Commission demands concerning the market’s decarbonization, but also exceeds Brussels targets, officials have contended.

The new plan is completely different to those of preceding governments, which sought lignite production extensions and continued CAT remuneration mechanism support, amongst other things, a highly ranked energy official informed.

The new focus is on greater RES penetration as well as electricity and natural gas network upgrades and investments, the official added.

The delivery of a Greek post-bailout assessment will be delayed until mid-November, instead of the end of October. This slight extension gives Athens some additional time to work on its desired energy plan revisions.