PPC quest for free carbon emission rights could prompt electricity bill hikes

The main power utility PPC’s application for free carbon emission rights from the European Commission, a quest supported by the energy ministry, could, if accepted, end up prompting electricity bill hikes.

Authorities have noted that the emission cost could be transferred from electricity producers to consumers, through a higher renewable energy sector-supporting surcharge, ETMEAR, included on electricity bills.

The overall mechanism governing carbon emission rights is quite elaborate and may even deprive PPC of benefits, even if granted free carbon emission rights, authorities have noted.

According to a directive for carbon emission rights exemptions, producers need to forward, through a competitive procedure, proposals for carbon emission reductions and energy system improvements (wind energy, hydropower, interconnections etc). Producers offering the most effective plans will be granted free carbon emission rights. Essentially, free carbon emission rights come with commitment to extensive green-minded investments.

Certain countries eligible for free carbon emission rights, based on the size of their respective national economies compared to the EU average, have chosen to not exercise this right due to the costs entailed.

Greek officials had been given a negative response from the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete last December but have not stepped back.