Revised universal electricity supply service, after general elections

The energy ministry is considering to revise the country’s universal electricity supply service, which covers the needs of black-listed consumers who have been shunned by suppliers over payment failures, deeming changes are necessary as reliance on this service, up 12 percent this year alone, has grown considerably over recent years.

Provided collectively – by law – by the electricity market’s top five suppliers, based on market share, the universal electricity supply service has grown to become the country’s sixth-largest electricity supplier, serving over 210,000 power meters, up from roughly 22,500 a decade ago, Vassilis Zouvias, Director of Regulatory Affairs at energy company NRG, highlighted during last week’s 4th Power & Gas Forum in Athens.

Just 9 percent of consumers using the universal electricity supply service pay their energy bills on time, while over 60 percent end up not paying their bills at all, the official noted.

Also speaking at last week’s forum, Dimitris Tsalemis, Director General for Energy at the energy ministry, noted these figures do not reflect the goals of the universal electricity supply service, adding “something needs to be done.”

New energy ministry proposals will aim to reshape the universal electricity supply service so that it offers attractive tariffs for participating suppliers through a competitive procedure organized by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, rather than administratively by the energy ministry, Tsalemis pointed out.

However, changes to the universal electricity supply service would previously require revising the retail electricity market code and, therefore, a legislative amendment, expected to take place following the forthcoming general elections, to be held in May, according to a latest update offered just days ago by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.