Staff level agreement on energy issues sought today

Greek energy ministry officials will seek to reach a Staff Level Agreement today, during a teleconference with lender representatives, on the pending energy sector issues required to conclude the bailout’s second review.

A government official with direct involvement in the negotiations told energypress that efforts over the past few days have further narrowed the gap between the two sides. The official described the current differences as marginal.

Technocrats representing Greece and the lenders will seek to find solutions that may satisfy both sides.

Finalizing the details for prospective hydropower station additions to main power utility PPC’s sales package should a market test in September indicate insufficient investor interest in the utility’s carbon-fired power stations will be a tricky issue. Poor results in a forthcoming review to examine the progress of PPC’s required retail electricity market share contraction would force the utilty to add hydropower stations to its sales package.

Energy minister Giorgos Stathakis is battling hard to avoid the inclusion of hydropower units to the PPC sales package. Any formal addition of such a prospect is not expected to go down well within the ranks of the Syriza party, the coalition’s main partner, and, of course, local communities that would be affected.

According to sources, the two sides are expected to agree to the sale of old and new carbon-fired PPC stations representing 40 percent of the utility’s capacity. Details on which units will be picked will be determined over the next six months. The European Commission will be involved in this process.

The agreement is also expected to include a clause requiring the continuation of NOME auctions, not only for PPC but also private-sector buyers expected to acquire carbon-fired stations currently owned by the utility.

NOME auctions were introduced last October in an effort to break PPC’s market dominance by offering independent traders access to PPC’s low-cost carbon and hydropower sources. The NOME auction progress will be reviewed over two stages, initially in June and followed by December.