PPC boss: Oil cost benefits outweigh pandemic’s damage

Benefits offered by the sharp drop in oil prices promise to outweigh the negative impact of pandemic-related tariff discounts offered to customers and lower revenues, power utility PPC’s chief executive Giorgos Stassis highlighted to analysts and investors during a two-hour virtual conference held yesterday.

Company financial figures for 2020 and the first half of 2021 have needed to be revised but the coronavirus lockdown measures imposed until now do not appear to have negatively impacted the corporate group, the CEO informed.

On the contrary, operating profit has risen as a result of a significant reduction of energy costs, Stassis explained, noting this gain is greater than reduced turnover figures prompted by lower energy consumption during the pandemic as well as the consequences of electricity bill payment delays by customers.

PPC’s energy expenses rose by 425 million euros in 2019, according to yesterday’s presentation.

The state-controlled corporation’s decarbonization schedule, or withdrawal of lignite facilities, will not be postponed by the pandemic, Stassis noted, responding to related questions.

PPC plans to soon withdraw its Amynteo facility from the grid, while the corporation’s lignite-based electricity generation has been significantly reduced, according to recent company announcements.

Lignite-based production at PPC has dropped by 65 percent compared to last year, according to a monthly report released by the Greek energy exchange in March.

PPC’s lignite facilities financially burden the corporation by 200 to 300 million euros per year, analysts were told yesterday.

The power utility’s retail electricity market share is expected to keep falling in 2020 but an attempt will be made to limit this slide through a new commercial policy, Stassis told analysts.

The company’s renewable energy portfolio will grow to 650 MW from a current capacity of 160 MW over the next three years, he noted.