Regional electricity discounts offered to sweeten lignite unit sales

The energy ministry plans to offer electricity tariff discounts of 30 percent to households based in lignite-active areas through an amendment to a draft bill recently submitted to parliament for the establishment of energy communities, promising decentralized, locally generated energy solutions.

Though the discount is being presented as a form of compensation to communities for the environmental impact of lignite mining activity and electricity generation over many years, it will essentially be offered to offset the threat of job losses that may result from the bailout-required sale package of main power utility PPC lignite units.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had promised tariff discounts for local households in lignite areas last summer, during an official visit to Kozani, in the country’s north.

At the time, regional authorities had requested a 30 percent electricity discount for households and a 50 percent disount for enterprises.

It remains unclear how this measure, originally valued at 25 milion euros per year, will be funded. Its cost will rise further if the discount also applies to communities in Megalopoli, Greece’s south. Two PPC units in Megalopoli have also been included in the bailout-required sell-off.