PPC counting on payments for inflow, island fee may remain

Main power utility PPC is counting on a series of payments expected imminently from various sources for relief to the corporation’s tight cash flow situation, caused primarily by an alarming level of unpaid receivables.

The utility is owed 180 million euros by the Greek State for outstanding electricity bills. At least part of this amount is soon expected. PPC is also anticipating a 100 million-euro deposit payment from Aluminium of Greece, a member of the Mytilineos corporate group, as part of a new tariff agreement just reached with the electro-intensive industrial producer. PPC is also preparing to receive Public Service Compensation (YKO) payments owed by system operators. The utility expects to receive a total of 600 million euros in total once these three fronts have been fully settled.

A PPC official, who acknowledged that the expected cash inflow will help ease the utility’s cashflow problem, indicated the corporation is seriously considering maintaining the Public Service Compensation surcharge included on electricity bills once the Cyclades are connected the mainland grid. The surcharge is currently included on PPC’s electricity bills to finance running high-cost mazut and diesel-fueled power stations on non-interconnected isalnds.

The same PPC source informed that an initiative announced by PPC’s boss Manolis Panagiotakis in the summer for the establishment of a new retail subsidiary with 400,000 existing PPC customers on board, which would be offered to private-sector investors to help reduce the utility’s bailout-required market share contraction, is being worked on. Technical details are currently being looked at while the new splinter firm will soon be ready for presentation, the source noted.

The PPC source declined to comment on whether any contact has been established with any potential buyers and whether the entire new company or just a stake of it would be offered to private investors.