Gas market liberalization headed for launch in 2016

Greece’s natural gas retail market is headed for liberalization, beginning in 2016, which will offer consumers the ability to choose supplier and reduce energy costs, based on the terms of the latest bailout agreement.

The Greek model will need to comply with the EU’s third energy package, introduced as EU law in 2011 with the aim of developing a more harmonized European energy market, in order to avoid obstacles encountered in previous attempts at opening up the local gas retail market to competition.

The objective will be to divide the market’s trading and network management activities. The country’s three EPA gas supply companies with regional monopolies in the wider Athens area, Thessaloniki, and Thessalia, in the mid-northeast, currently control both trading and network management. The division is expected to draw new companies into the market.

Officials cited Greece’s telephony market as a successful precedent.

Procedures for the retail gas market’s liberalization are expected to begin early in 2016 and be completed in 2018, according to the Greek government.