Pending bailout energy matters resolved by draft bill, minister notes

An energy ministry draft bill submitted to a parliamentary committee ahead of its parliamentary vote on Thursday resolves pending post-bailout energy sector requirements, the privatization plan for DEPA and disinvestment of main power utility PPC lignite assets being the two main matters, energy minister Giorgos Stathakis has pointed out.

Besides sections on lignite and gas network ownership, the draft bill includes a provision for an upgrade of the Institute of Geology & Mineral Exploration (IGME), to be renamed the Greek Geological & Mineral Exploration Authority (EAGME).

Less bureaucracy and simpler licensing procedures for the utilization of geothermal fields can be expected by the change, Syriza party speaker Anastasia Gara told the parliamentary committee.

The draft bill also includes town planning and building regulation revisions aimed at strengthening the government’s stance against unregulated building activity, stressed Stathakis, the energy minister.

The government’s wider plan to maintain the state’s control of public infrastructure is also observed by the draft bill, the minister noted.

Main oppostition New Democracy speaker Konstantinos Skrekas warned the parliamentary committee that the country’s bailout-related commitments concerning PPC are “not faring well”.