Post-bailout energy sector inspections begin next week

The first post-bailout era meeting between energy minister Giorgos Stathakis and the country’s creditors, planned for next week, will focus on the progress of main power utility PPC’s bailout-required disinvestment of lignite units; the DEPA gas utility and ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) privatizations; NOME auctions; and the target model, aiming for market coupling, or harmonization of EU wholesale markets.

According to sources, the meeting will take place some time between next Wednesday and Friday, once technocrats have laid the groundwork on Monday and Tuesday.

Energy-sector fronts are expected to be closely monitored in the post-bailout era, PPC’s sale of lignite units being the most pressing issue at this stage.

China’s CHN Energy, which has joined forces with the Copelouzos group for the sale of lignite units – offered as two respective packages representing 40 percent of the utility’s overall lignite capacity in the north and south – has requested a deadline extension of one or two months for the submission of binding offers. The current deadline expires on October 17.

If granted by the European Commission, the announcement of the sale’s preferred bidder or bidders will be delayed until the first quarter of 2019, instead of the end of this year.