Pending electricity market issues need urgent addressing

The focus of attention may be on the country’s economy and the crucial ongoing negotiations for a new bailout agreement with creditors, but vital electricity market issues remain pending. Some of these are linked to European Commission approvals and complaints, the deadlines for the matters approaching.

One of these, disclosed by energypress just days ago, concerns Greece’s varied Emission Reduction Tariff (ETMEAR) surcharge rates levied on electricity bills, depending on consumer category. Although the varied rates are not unusal in the EU, Greece does need to justify the policy or face the prospect of European Commission fines, beginning July 1.

Also left pending is Greece’s new CAT (Capacity Availablity Tickets) system. The European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition has posed questions on the CAT plan forwarded by Greece’s previous administration. The country’s preceding CAT system expired on December 31, placing the market under tremendous strain that could lead to irreparable damage.

Another outstanding matter is the country’s Public Service Compensation (YKO) surcharges that have not been revised despite a verdict by the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, which has ruled against the way they are imposed. The European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition has also issued a ruling for the period between 2007 and 2011. The main power utility PPC may face the prospect of needing to return YKO surcharge amounts imposed on electricity bills during this five-year period. The ruling, reached last September but released more recently, considers the surcharge as being a form of state aid as the public utility had also benefited from other compensation amounts during the period. In addition, various other YKO-related cases filed to Greek courts have yet to be tried.

It will be particularly interesting to see if the latest positive outlook by LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator, for the RES special account, which is now forecast to to step into surplus territory at the end of the year, will be confirmed in practice. The account is supported by ETMEAR inflow.