Privatizations counterproposal to be tested in Brussels today

Energy minister Panos Skourletis’s counterproposals for Greek energy-sector privatization revisions will be put to the test today when local ministry authorities meet with European Commission officials in Brussels to discuss energy-sector requirements ahead of the bailout’s next review.

Skourletis wants to list between 25 and 30 of DEPA (Public Gas Corporation) on the Athens bourse, within 2016, if possible, in exchange for the nullification of a series of planned energy-sector privatizations and eventual relaunch under new terms.

Klaus Regling, the chief executive officer of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), has already expressed discontent over such a prospect.

The Greek minister’s proposal entails revising a plan to privatize 17 percent of PPC (main power utility), 65 percent of DEPA (Public Gas Corporation) and 35 percent of ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) through TAIPED, the State Privatiation Fund.

The energy ministry officials will take the opportunity to present a detailed counterproposal for these three privatization plans during today’s meeting, according to sources. The session is being held to discuss the progress made by PPC in reaching individual electricity supply agreements with high-voltage consumers; progress made in the Greek natural gas market’s liberalization; as well as local implementation of EU energy market directives.

PPC has established individual electricity supply agreemets with 53 of 61 high-voltage consumers, the utility has announced. However, new electricity supply agreements have yet to be signed with PPC’s two largest-consuming industrial companies, Aluminium of Greece, involved in lengthy negotiations with the power utility, and Larco, the troubled state-controlled general mining and nickel producer.

As for the natural gas market’s liberalization, Greece has fallen well behind schedule in the bailout-required plan to separate the distribution networks and trading activities of the country’s EPA supply companies. According to the third bailout, this division needs to be fully implemented by January 1, 2017. However, a series of terms and regulations still need to be endorsed by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, before this can occur.

As for revisions concerning the Target Model, Greece’s adjustments needed for EU energy market integration, local amendments, based on EU directives, have almost been completed.