PPC to withdraw Amynteo in support of effort to sell Meliti, Megalopoli

The main power utility PPC’s board is expected to reach a decision today to withdraw its now-expired Amynteo lignite-fired power station from the grid in order to improve the clarity and market conditions for investors in the utility’s bailout-required disinvestment package that includes two other lignite units, Meliti and Megalopoli.

An Amynteo facility withdrawal, combined with an ongoing effort by PPC for improved supply terms from the operator of the Ahlada mine feeding the Meliti power station, would boost the incentive of investors considering the PPC disinvestment package. Its initial sale effort did not produce a result.

PPC’s chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis wants an Amynteo withdrawal decision from the board today in an effort to avoid Brussels sanctions against the utility for its continued operations of the outdated facility.

Amynteo is currently operating beyond a 17,500-hour lifeline extension granted by the European Commission in 2016.

Last week, Kostas Skrekas, the main opposition New Democracy party’s shadow energy minister, told a Power & Gas Supply Forum in Athens that the European Commission has begun infringement procedures against Greece for this overtime usage.

The Amynteo withdrawal will not be instant but, instead, made in late 2020 or early 2021, when a 32,000-hour extension offered by the government through a ministerial decision last November is expected to expire.

This extension, which effectively added 14,500 hours to Brussels’ 17,500-hour extension in 2016, had not received any approval from the European Commission.

Brussels had set its 17,500-hour extension limit as part of the EU decarbonization policy.

Genop, the power utility PPC’s main union, is planning action against the planned closure of Amynteo in Greece’s north, with support from local and regional authorities. The plan casts doubts over the jobs of 1,000 PPC workers and could also affect the region’s telethermal needs and economic activity.

PPC had received four different Amynteo environmental upgrade proposals from the Mytilineos, Copelouzos, Peristeris and Intrakat groups prior to this latest decision for the facility’s eventual withdrawal.