NOME auctions not needed to open up electricity market, PPC chief tells

Main power utility PPC’s chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis has expressed serious reservations about the need to introduce NOME-type auctions as a tool to help open up Greece’s electricity market to competition, noting that various entrepreneurial initiatives in the sector can produce the desired results.

The PPC boss expressed his doubts about the NOME auction plan – a bailout condition to offer wholesalers access to vertically integrated PPC’s low-cost, lignite-fired electricity production as a way of ending the utility’s market dominance – during a speech yesterday at a conference staged by IENE, the Institute of Energy for South-East Europe.

Speaking to energypress on the sidelines, the PPC chief clarified that he was referring to initiatives such as a plan announced by ELTA (Hellenic Post) to dynamically enter the retail electricity market. ELTA already possesses an extensive retail network around the country.

Panagiotakis pointed out PPC must not be forced to sell lignite-fired electricity production at below-cost levels if the NOME auction plan is implemented.

“PPC will turn into an enterprise and operate as an enterprise,” Panagiotakis stressed, while noting the utility plans to expand its presence in neighboring countries through a leading role in the southeast European region. The PPC chief also said he expects PPC to draw major investments for Greece’s energy sector.

He noted any contraction of the use of lignite for electricity production in Greece would be detrimental for the country, pointing out that the energy source should represent between 30 to 35 percent of the domestic energy mix over the next couple of decades. This could be achieved through appropriate investments, such as the construction of a second lignite-fired power station in Florina, northern Greece, Panagiotakis said.