New retail gas market players restrained by various obstacles

Rivals of EPA Attiki, the dominant natural gas supplier in the wider Athens area, have confronted various obstacles in their efforts to gain ground since the beginning of the year, when this market was liberalized.

Application processing delays and bureaucratic procedures faced by consumers when seeking to transfer from one supplier to another are among the obstacles subduing the efforts of new players.

Certain smaller suppliers have already lodged complaints to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, while others are preparing to do so.

Problems with a four-digit hotline for the sector have also been reported. In addition, the market operator has reportedly avoided accepting customer transfer applications, citing various reasons. Amid the subsequent delays, many customers have ended up staying with EPA Attiki.

Also, new tenants moving into properties have had difficulties registering with gas suppliers of their choice as previous property tenants have departed while owing gas bill amounts to EPA Attiki. Gas supply applications have been rejected in such cases despite the different tax file numbers of previous and new tenants.

The various problems will take time to resolve, while test runs should have been held in December, one market official stressed.

It should be pointed out that most gas suppliers are using the current year to test the waters for a measure of the market’s potential and have yet to make full-fledged efforts.

New players are expected to launch promotional campaigns in May and June. These efforts should peak around autumn, when the real battle for market shares in the liberalized retail natural gas market is expected to commence.