Payment delays to RES producers gradually worsening

The gradually increasing delay of payments by LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator, to renewable energy source (RES) producers has added a further month to the waiting period, prompting concern among investors, who fear further deterioration may lie ahead.

The operator has just begun paying a small number of photovoltaic producers for output dating back to last September. As has become common practice, it should take LAGIE about a month to pay all producers for output during that month.

The operator is currently managing to pay producers about five to six months after they have issued invoices.

A large number of RES producers, in comments to energypress, expressed concern over the gradually widening period of time needed by LAGIE to meet payments. The development is affecting their own commitments, they noted.

In comments to energypress, LAGIE sources, admitting that the operator’s cashflow has tightened up, attributed the negative development to the main power utility PPC’s difficulties encountered in collecting electricity bill payments from a large percentage of consumers. The LAGIE sources noted this delay is consequently affecting PPC’s injection of a RES-supporting surcharge (ETMEAR) into the RES special account. This surcharge represents about half of the special account’s income.

The LAGIE sources also attributed the operator’s increased cashflow difficulty to the sunnier weather experienced during the months of July, August, and September, which boosts the output of photovoltaic systems and results in greater payments that need to be covered.

Besides the growing delay in payments, RES producers have also been unsettled by LAGIE’s latest forecast for the country’s RES special account. Just days ago, the operator reported it expects the RES special account’s deficit to widen considerably to 190.64 million euros in 2016 from 82.68 million euros at the end of last year.