The details of an agreement between the Greek government and country’s lenders – as part of the bailout’s third review – on changes to the supplier surcharge and how these revisions will be implemented remain unclear.
The possibility of a reduction to the RES-supporting ETMEAR surcharge, appearing on electricity bills, is vague in the agreement’s preliminary text provided. So, too, is a term stating RES special account surplus amounts will be returned “as a matter of priority” to electricity suppliers.
Energy ministry officials, contacted by energypress, indicated that supplier surcharge payments made will be partially returned to suppliers on a transitional basis until a local energy exchange is launched, probably by next August. Legislation would need to be drafted by the energy ministry and ratified in parliament to cover this transitional period. A bill was ratified to introduce the supplier surcharge, imposed to feed the RES special account.
Ministry officials also noted the supplier surcharge will eventually be abolished, adding its role of supporting the RES special account would be taken on by “green certificates” to be bought and sold at the energy exchange.
A RES special account surplus of 237 million euros has been forecast in 2018, assuming the ETMEAR surcharge remains unchanged, according to the latest update from LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator. It is estimated that two thirds of the supplier surcharge total to be accumulated in 2018 could be returned to suppliers. The surcharge is forecast to generate 375 million euros of which 138 million would be retained for the RES special account and the rest returned to suppliers.
However, unsettled previous RES special account transactions do not make this a straightforward process. PPC is owed 42.2 million euros, via IPTO, the power grid opearor, for ETMEAR revenues in 2015. Also, various other ETMEAR-related payments, concerning the years 2012 to 2016, also remain pending. Settlement of these promises to significantly reduce RES special account returns being anticipated.
Certain government sources have suggested an ETMEAR reduction could precede a supplier surcharge cut.