DESFA network surcharges expected to rise nearly 40%

DESFA, Greece’s gas grid operator, is expected to proceed with an overdue obligation and submit its operating cost data to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, either this week or next week, at the very latest, so that the latter may determine new regulated network surcharges, energypress sources have informed.

The gas operator’s delay in submitting its cost data to the authority has been attributed to the prospect of sizeable surcharges for consumers, a definite development that has so far been balked by officials seeking to avoid responsibility.

Energypress sources said the required network surcharges to result from the DESFA cost data will prompt an increase of nearly 40 percent compared to the current level.

Natural gas consumption in Greece has fallen drastically as a result of the weakened economy. This boils down to meaning that network costs will need to be covered by smaller amounts of natural gas being absorbed. A total of 4.219 billion cubic meters of natual gas was consumed in 2012. The figure fell to 2.78 billion cubic meters in 2014.

Regulations stipulate that gas network surcharges need to be reviewed every three years. DESFA was supposed to submit its latest cost data to RAE by last May but missed the deadline amid the country’s overall political and economic mayhem. The last revision was made in 2012.

In addition, the sale of a DEFSA stake to Azeri company Socar is imminent and the procedure cannot be completed unless new surcharges are determined, well-informed officials have noted.

Socar has factored the surcharge regulations into its investment calculations. The Azeri company has calculated an annual return on capital of roughly 11 percent for the 400 million-euro price tag placed on a 66 percent share of DESFA.

DESFA’s budget covering the three-year period from 2016 to 2018 anticipates surcharge increases compared to the surcharges valid between 2012 and 2015 to recover investments made for the network’s development in twenty years.