NOME split would undermine market liberalization effort

A public consultation procedure launched yesterday by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for reaction to a LAGIE (Electricity Market Operator) proposal entailing the split, into two lots, of a remaining 718 MWh/h NOME auction electricity amount that needs to be offered to the market by the end of 2017 has alarmed the country’s independent electricity suppliers as this proposal, if implemented, would generate a bidding war for smaller amounts, increase purchase prices for independent suppliers and, ultimately, keep customers at the still-dominant main power utility PPC.

The LAGIE plan proposes splitting the 718 MWh/h over two auctions, one offering 475 MWh/h at a session on October 18, the other 243 MWh/h on November 11.

The NOME auction amount’s split, combined with unrestricted electricity exports by traders, promises to end any hope of PPC achieving its bailout-required market share contraction targets, pundits told energypress.

PPC’s market share remains firm at 85.5 percent, stagnant since May, according to data released yesterday by LAGIE.

A limited electricity amount of 145 MWh/h was offered at the country’s most recent NOME auction, last July, prompting a bidding war between buyers that drove prices up to 43.05 euros per MWh. Such price levels seriously limit the ability of independent electricity suppliers to challenge PPC.

The utility had already dampened market competition conditions by introducing a 15 percent discount on electricity bills for punctual customers over a year ago.

Local authorities, pressured by Brussels, recently increased the NOME electricity amount to be offered for the remainder of 2017 in an effort to keep purchase prices as low as possible for buyers. The independent suppliers have looked forward to a single bigger auction offering 718 MWh/h, expecting it would provide them with greater pricing leeway.

NOME auctions were introduced in Greece last October to offer independent electricity suppliers access to PPC’s lignite and hydropower sources, the intention being to enable lower-cost electricity purchases that would help the independent firms chip into PPC’s dominant market share.