PPC partnerships possible no sooner than end of year, utility admits

The main power utility PPC’s administration appears to have become aware of the practical difficulties involved in establishing subsidiaries for prospective retail market partnerships with private-sector companies that would serve a proportion of the utility’s existing customers.

This approach is being viewed by PPC as a controlled way of surrendering some of its dominant retail market share, as demanded by the country’s bailout agreement.

According to latest estimates by the utility’s administration, the establishment of such partnerships with private-sector power suppliers is not practically possible any sooner than the end of this year.

NOME auctions intended to provide third parties with access to PPC’s low-cost lignite and hydropower sources as a measure to break the utility’s dominance – will first need to be launched before partnership plans may be developed. PPC has tried to avoid the auctions, now seeming like they will be launched in October, not September, as originally scheduled.

PPC officials believe that the achievement of a retail market share contraction by the utility through the establishment of partnerships with private-sector suppliers will reduce the amount of electricity that will need to be made available by the utility’s production units at the NOME auctions for rival retail suppliers.

For the time being, none of the country’s three vertically integrated energy corporations are interested in forming retail partnerships with PPC, energypress has been informed.

As for the electricity production sector, PPC’s boss Manolis Panagiotakis – speaking yesterday at an information day  organized by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for a public discussion on the proposed NOME auction terms – said investors are welcome to join a planned consortium featuring China’s CMEC (China Machinery Engineering Corporation) for the construction of a secong power station in Meliti, Florina, northern Greece. The Chinese company is expected to hold a majority stake in this venture. “Anybody can join in, as long as capital is contributed,” the PPC boss remarked.

Panagiotakis also warned that PPC’s survival could be threatened if the utility is forced to provide a large proportion of its production, below cost, to the imminent NOME auctions. This will not be permitted, he stressed. Panagiotakis also reiterated his opposition to the bailout-required auctions as a means of reducing PPC’s market share.