PPC’s troubled financial standing manageable, ministry supports

The energy ministry, in an announcement, has defended the main power utility PPC, noting that cash flow problem faced by the utility as a result of the large amount of unpaid receivables can be resolved.

The utility’s softened payback program for troubled customers, a measure to help combat the effects of the country’s recession over the past six years, will play a key role in bolstering the utility, the ministry noted.

The country’s new RES support framework and the restructured ETMEAR surcharges, through which electricity suppliers will cover additional amounts, will help balance the deficit-ridden RES special account, the ministry supported.

PPC, controlled by the Greek State with a 51.12 percent stake, faces the challenge of moving into the new energy era as a corporation that will remain at the forefront of the country’s energy sector, backed by the State’s strong presence, through PPC’s equity make-up, which will enable the utility to intervene and protect social interests whenever necessary, the ministry noted.

Contrary to widespread media reports, PPC insists it will not increase electricity tariffs for customers as a result of the government’s recent amendment for additional RES-supporting surcharges to be imposed on electricity suppliers. As the dominant market player at present, PPC will take on most of the surcharge’s cost.

Electricity tariff reductions offered by PPC – initially a 10 percent discount for professionals, followed by a 15 percent discount for customers with punctual electricity payment records – have been made since last September, despite widespread reports of imminent hikes, the ministry noted in its statement.

Noting that it is contributing responsibly to help shape the country’s evolving energy-sector environment, the ministry cited its role in stopping the previous government’s effort to sell 66 percent of IPTO, the power grid operator, and, instead, launch a new procedure through which 24 percent of the operator is now being offered to a strategic investor, 51 percent will be transferred to the Greek State from parent company PPC, and the remaining 25 percent will be offered to investors through the bourse.

As for other revisions, the ministry, in its statement, also made note of the upcoming NOME auctions, to provide third parties with access to PPC’s low-cost lignite and hydropower sources as a measure to help break the utility’s dominance. The NOME auctions are expected to be launched next month.

PPC possesses major advantages that will enable the utility to convert bailout-required market share contraction demands into an opportunity to expand its presence abroad, the ministry statement noted. PPC’s market share be reduced to less than 50 percent by 2020.

The utility’s interest in establishing prospective partnerships as a means of reducing its market share could launch PPC into the new era and protect its corporate standing by facilitating entries into new energy fields and markets, providing additional capital, offering exchange of knowhow and international cooperation, the ministry said.