Old surcharge on gas bills back to fund LNG tanker safety plan

A plan by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, entailing the hiring of an LNG tanker as a storage facility to be moored at the terminal on Revythoussa, an islet just off Athens, is set to be implemented as an additional supply security measure for the crucial winter months.

This solution, expected to cost approximately 6 million euros, will be financed through a Special Supply Security Surcharge to be reimposed on natural gas bills for all consumers.

The surcharge had also been imposed on natural gas bills in the past, raising cash reserves of between 9 and 10 million euros for DESFA, the natural gas grid operator, before being lifted.

It will be covered by all gas supply companies, which will pass on the cost to consumers, as well as gas-fueled electricity producers. Major-scale industrial producers registered for the demand response mechanism (interruptability) will be exempted from the surcharge. (The demand response mechanism enables major industrial enterprises to be compensated when the TSO (ADMIE/IPTO) requests that they shift their energy usage by lowering or stopping consumption during high-demand peak hours so as to balance the electricity system’s needs).

The LNG tanker solution will be adopted to prevent supply problems encountered last winter. Other measures have also been taken but authorities believe these may not suffice should conditions end up being extreme.

RAE appears prepared to adopt the 6 million-euro additional safety measure rather than risk a repeat of the energy crisis last December and February.

“This measure may possibly not be needed in the end. Nobody knows. But it can be considered certain that countering a crisis by using last winter’s tools, such as converting natural gas-fueled electricity production units into petroleum-based units, would end up costing a lot more,” a local authority explained.

The main power utility PPC is now claiming tens of millions of euros for such conversions needed last winter.