RAE reacts against PPC intention for smart meters role

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, appears set to take action against recent remarks by the main power utility PPC’s leadership, seeking active roles for the utility in the reshaping of a troubled model concerning the replacement of Greece’s conventional power meters with digital-technology systems and the project’s implementation.

Speaking at a recent shareholders’ meeting, Manolis Panagiotakis, PPC’s boss, made clear he wants a leading overall role for the power utility in this project.

A leading RAE official told energypress that the authority was troubled by the remarks as “a power supply company – regardless of the fact that it is the parent company of DEDDIE/HEDNO, Greece’s Electricity Distribution Network Operator – supports that it must have a say and role in the smart meters installation plan and all matters concerning the management of the distribution network.”

The RAE official contested that the power utility has no right to intervene and comment on whether power meters will be replaced and in what way, as well as on any other issues within the operator’s realm of responsibility.

A PPC official countered that it would be preferable if the authority’s annoyance was directed at the project’s major delay, adding that related decisions made until now have not managed to overcome problems amid a changed environment in order to enable the project to progress.

Panagiotakis told PPC shareholders that the power meters replacement plan needs to be re-examined virtually from scratch – regardless of the outcome of the project’s pilot plan.

PPC is seeking a leading role through this re-examination as the utility wants to secure an active role in the power meters upgrade, seen as a key aspect in the future developments of the electricity market.

The grid currently represents the utility’s biggest asset and could gain even greater value amid the wider scene being shaped by European policies and technological advancements, the CEO told shareholders. Subsequently, PPC and DEDDIE/HEDNO need to maintain their parent company-subsidiary relationship on matters concerning the grid’s development, modernization, efficiency, utilization and strategy, even if RAE does has a say in some of these issues, the PPC boss added.

According to the original plan, the entire project was scheduled to be completed by 2020, now ruled out as impossible.

The project’s total cost was originally estimated at 1.2 billion euros but this figure is expected to fall to a level of around 800 million euros as the technology to be used matures and related purchase prices deescalate.

The installation of digital power meters in Greece is both a necessity and obligation promising to radically change how the electricity market operates and offer benefits to consumers. The country’s lenders have demanded a clear-cut development time frame in the bailout agreement.