NOME auctions ending, EC to decide on October session

The big question currently preoccupying the thoughts of domestic electricity market officials is whether the next and final NOME auction of the year – planned to offer independent suppliers a mammoth quantity totaling 1029 MW on October 10 – will be staged as this will greatly influence the market’s shape until the eventual implementation of the target model.

Power utility PPC, which began offering below-cost wholesale electricity to rivals through NOME auctions when they were introduced as a market-opening measure in 2015, following an agreement between the previous Syriza government and the European Commission, wants the October NOME session scrapped.

So, too, does the recently appointed new energy minister Costis Hatzidakis, who described Syriza’s NOME agreement as “the world’s first ever free privatization” in an interview for the Sunday edition of Greek daily Kathimerini.

The former Syriza government introduced the measure as a tool to help reduce PPC’s dominant retail electricity market share from 90 percent to 50 percent. It has not worked. PPC’s market share remains over 80 percent and the utility, Hatzidakis contended in the interview, has lost over 600 million euros as a result of this measure.

A legislative bill abolishing the NOME auctions and setting the groundwork for a transition to the post-NOME era will be submitted to Greek Parliament before the end of October, Hatzidakis noted, adding he wants to have reached an agreement on the NOME auctions with Brussels prior to this. The European Commission has the final say on the matter.

Electricity suppliers are hoping one final NOME auction can be staged in October so that they can stock up on a year’s worth of electricity to cover market needs, even at a higher starting price, as would be the case if the session is held.