PPC pricing discount in new year prompts varied thoughts

A short and simple announcement by PPC, the Public Power Corporation, made just days ago, declaring lower prices in the new year for professionals, has prompted varied thoughts among privately run electricity supply companies.

Certain officials interpreted the discount offering as an initial move by PPC to hold on to its customers ahead of the NOME-type auctions, scheduled to begin in spring. Some believe PPC is reducing its profit margins and, in doing, so, launching a more aggressive pricing policy amid the prospect of increased competition in the supply market. Others have disregarded PPC’s move as a discount policy already being offered to higher-consumption consumer categories that is now being expanded to also make lower-consumption professional groups eligible. Whatever the case, PPC seems to have declared that it intends to pursue a more aggressive commercial strategy.

At the same time, independent electricity suppliers appear skeptical about the prospects of success for the upcoming NOME-type auctions, intended to offer private-sector suppliers access to low-cost electricity production and increase competition. Their doubts stem from both the major delays already experienced in the plan’s schedule, as well as the actual nature of the auctions and whether these will create a framework suitable for the entry of new competitors into the supply market.

Certain market sources contend that existing independent suppliers cannot take any pricing policy initiatives unless the air is cleared up and specific numeric details are officially announced.

In any case, the supply market’s current picture, in terms of market share distribution, is disappointing, as was recently pointed out in a European Commission report. PPC has continued to dominate the supply market in what could be described as a totalitarian fashion. Competition is virtually non-existent. According to market figures provided last August, PPC’s share is 96.37 percent. The best-performing privately run electricity supplier to date, Heron, holds a mere 1.24 percent share of the market. It is followed by Elpedison with a 1.08 percent share, Green Environmental & Energy Network with 0.35 percent, Protergia with 0.2 percent, Watt & Volt with 0.19 percent, and Volterra with 0.16 percent.