PPC, contrary to targets, gains market share in November

Market share contraction targets included in the bailout agreement for the main power utility PPC have fallen further behind, and, at the current rate, appear to stand no chance of being attained.

Rather than keep sliding downwards, PPC’s market share for November gained approximately one percentage point to reach 84.2 percent, from 83.21 percent at the end of October, unofficial data obtained by energypress has shown.

PPC’s market share gain comes as a loss for independent suppliers, especially the local market’s three big vertically integrated corporate groups.

According to the bailout targets set, PPC’s market share is expected to contract to 75.24 percent by the end of this year and, ultimately, drop to less than 50 percent by 2020.

Confirmation of the latest figures for December promises to create greater unrest in the market. The NOME auctions, introduced in Greece slightly over a year ago to offer independent suppliers access to PPC’s low-cost lignite and hydropower sources, have helped keep independent suppliers afloat amid difficult conditions, elevated wholesale prices being one of the negative factors, but the auctions do not suffice to ensure the utility’s market share contraction targets are met.

Electricity amounts offered to suppliers through the NOME auctions are being rediscussed as a result of PPC’s imminent bailout-required disinvestment of lignite units. The utility, which must soon place for sale units representing 40 percent of its overall lignite capacity, has called for a reduction of electricity amounts it is obligated to offer through the NOME auctions.

The latest poor market share results could help precipitate a PPC proposal to carve out sections of its retail interests and sell these to investors with exisiting customers on board. According to sources, the energy ministry, despite declaring the contrary, is now examining to focus more on this split-and-sale solution, as long as related legal and other issues can be resolved.

Meanwhile, high prices generated by bidders participating in the most recent NOME auction, the final session for the year, have stirred considerable unrest in the mid-voltage electricity market. Independent suppliers, in an effort to avoid losses, have revised upwards their tariffs for mid-voltage consumers, especially in cases where low-price offers had been established. This has prompted customers to seek better deals elsewhere, including at PPC.