Panagiotakis condemns CAT plan, warns against coal output fall

Local lignite production in Greece, at an all-time low, needs to be boosted, main power utility PPC chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis stressed during a news conference yesterday.

Panagiotakis disclosed that this year’s local lignite production will reach 15.5 TWh, down from 19.5 TWh last year and levels of around 30 TWh in the past.

He called for regulation revisions so that CO2 emission right costs concerning lignite-fired power stations are not factored into daily energy plan offers.

Panagiotakis said that a tax imposed on lignite should be scrapped following the elimination of the special consumption tax (EFK) on natural gas.

He reiterated the need for free carbon emission rights, as applies to other EU member states with relatively small economies, describing the initiative as a “strategic matter” and requirement for sufficient lignite-fired production levels in Greece, which the PPC chief noted is necessary for the next two decades.

Panagiotakis also condemned the temporary CAT mechanism as it excludes hydropower production and burdens PPC by roughly 80 million euros over a twelve-month period. This cost, he said, will wipe out PPC’s benefits from the elimination of the special consumption tax on natural gas, used by the utility at its gas-fueled power stations.

He stressed that RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, needs to finally introduce a permanent CAT plan that is scientifically sound and based on market conditions. “We find ourselves in a position where PPC, facing criticism for not wanting to liberalize the electricity market, is supporting a market-based system while others are not,” Panagiotakis remarked.