Deviation cost limit on small-scale PVs with FiTs to be halved

The energy ministry is planning to halve a cap concerning the balancing cost of small-scale photovoltaic systems operating with feed-in tariffs and balancing responsibilities, energypress sources have informed.

The current level does not permit this cost to exceed charges and overstay disincentives imposed by FOSETEK, the green aggregation representative body.

The energy ministry’s legislative revision, expected soon, will halve the current upper level permitted for these costs. It will primarily concern small-scale photovoltaics with capacities ranging between 400 and 500 KW for which agreements had been signed with DAPEEP, the RES market operator, beyond July 4, 2019, as, during the resulting period, all PV projects with capacities of over 400 KW are required to operate with feed-in-premiums.

According to market officials, a total of approximately 180 PVs operate based on feed-in-tariffs with balancing responsibilities intact.

Meanwhile, the energy ministry plans to temporarily increase reference prices for biomass and biogas units as a result of the energy crisis. The increase, expected to be 25 percent, will concern projects that have signed operational support contracts. The increase will apply until the end of 2023, while an extension through a ministerial decision will be made possible.

 

Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin auctions in first half

Auctions for Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin, providing transparency to consumers about the proportion of electricity that suppliers source from renewable generation, a scheme required of all EU member states, are planned to be launched in Greece during the first half of the year.

These auctions promise to create new conditions in Greece for the establishment of green electricity tariffs for consumers wishing to support the decarbonization of the country’s energy mix.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has put forth, for consultation, Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin regulations proposed by DAPEEP, the RES market operator. This procedure is scheduled to be completed on January 9.

The authority is expected to have approved the regulations for Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin auctions by the end of this month, thus establishing a comprehensive framework for the creation of a trading system for “green” certificates in Greece.

Country’s solar energy capacity on course to overtake wind energy

Solar energy units are on course to overtake wind energy as the country’s biggest RES sub-sector, given the growing number of installations of the former and a slowdown of the latter during the first half, latest data provided by DAPEEP, the RES market operator, has shown.

At the current rate, the total capacity of solar energy facilities could, for the first time ever, exceed that of wind energy units in the second half of this year.

At present, the country’s wind energy capacity totals 4,294 MW, solar energy capacity is at 4,173 MW, and roof-mounted photovoltaics are at 371 MW. They are followed by small-scale hydropower units (246 MW), biogas-biomass (99 MW) and cogeneration-combined hear and power (118 MW).

The country’s installed RES capacity increased by 207.4 MW in May, solar energy units being the biggest contributor (153.2 MW), followed by wind energy (51.8 MW), small-scale hydropower units (1.7 MW) and biomass (0.7 MW), the DAPEEP figures showed.

The RES market operator expects renewable energy installations in 2022 to reach 1,900 MW, led by solar energy units (950 MW), and followed by wind energy (910 MW), biomass (15 MW), cogeneration-combined hear and power (15 MW), and small-scale hydropower (10 MW).

Greece’s total installed RES capacity reached 9,300 MW in May, up from 8,500 MW at the beginning of the year, the DAPEEP data showed.

 

August pressure for energy retailers, covering subsidies

Electricity and gas retailers fear even tougher financial times in August as the government’s increasing levels of energy subsidy support offered to consumers to offset rising wholesale energy prices and keep energy bills serviceable will force suppliers to use greater amounts of company capital for the effort, company officials have told energypress.

Energy suppliers need to commit company capital for customer subsidies in accordance with subsidy support packages announced by the energy ministry before they are reimbursed about a month later via the Energy Transition Fund, once DAPEEP, the RES market operator, has cleared related amounts.

The one-month period elapsing from the time suppliers cover subsidies, at their own cost, to their eventual reimbursement is pushing suppliers to their financial limits.

It should be pointed out, energy suppliers have yet to be reimbursed for subsidies they paid for in June, concerning consumption in May.

Reduced supplier guarantees to operators being examined

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, looking for ways to ease the cashflow pressure felt by electricity suppliers in the energy crisis, is considering to reduce the level of guarantees they need to forward to the country’s operators – power grid operator IPTO, RES market operator DAPEEP, and distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO – by revising a formula that determines these guarantee amounts.

However, certain independent, non-vertically integrated electricity suppliers remain apprehensive, fearing such a move could ultimately further increase the market strength of bigger rivals and push smaller players further aside.

At this stage, RAE is involved in talks with the market operators in an effort to determine if leeway exists for a reduction of the guarantees provided by suppliers.

RAE’s Aggeliki Mourtzikou, Director of the Wholesale Energy Markets Department, told the recent energypress Power and Gas Forum that the authority is moving carefully so that any intervention does not result in the creation of deficit figures whose side effects in the market could outweigh any short-term benefits concerning supplier cashflows.

The number of consumers seeking installment-based payment arrangements for energy bills has risen sharply, severely impacting the cashflow of suppliers.

Subsidy returns to power, gas suppliers currently trapped

A sum estimated at one billion euros, which should, by now, have been transferred by the Greek State to energy suppliers as compensation for subsidies they have offered to households and businesses on its behalf, remains trapped in the coffers of DAPEEP, the RES market operator, as a result of rule ambiguities and errors, sources have claimed in comments to energypress.

This amount, planned to cover subsidy-related payments made by electricity and natural gas suppliers for January, February as well as March, is stuck at DAPEEP as three ministerial decisions issued last month, which define the framework for electricity and gas bill subsidies offered to household consumers, businesses and farmers, as well as subsidy clearance procedures enabling payments to suppliers, contain ambiguities and mistakes, the sources told energypress following its related report on payment delays faced by energy suppliers.

As a result of these ministerial decisions, DAPEEP has been called upon to check whether subsidy amounts covered by suppliers from their own funds on behalf of the Greek State are correct, the sources said.

In essence, the operator has been asked to cross-examine whether consumers who were subsidized were eligible for the support, restricted to primary residence only, and whether other eligible parties ended up not receiving subsidies.

DAPEEP is not in a position to perform this task alone as the RES market operator needs to cross-examine its figures with those of DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, and IPTO, the power grid operator, for which it does not have access, the sources explained.

March power, gas subsidies unchanged, suppliers owed

The level of state subsidies to be offered to household and business consumers for electricity and natural gas in March will remain unchanged compared to February, a support measure worth 350 million euros for the month, sources have informed.

Energy suppliers have already been informed of the decision, reached by the energy ministry.

As a result, household consumers will receive electricity subsidies worth 39 euros per month for consumption up to 300 kWh, only for primary places of residence.

Low-income households eligible for social residential tariffs (KOT) stand to receive electricity subsidies worth 51 euros per month.

Monthly subsidies for non-household consumers, including businesses, farmers and professionals, will remain at the level of 65 euros.

As for natural gas, household consumers stand to receive state subsidies of 20 euros per MWh plus that much more from the gas company DEPA Commercial. Businesses will receive 20 euros per MWh.

According to sources, energy suppliers have yet to be compensated by DAPEEP, the RES market operator, for subsidies offered in January and February, on behalf of the Greek State. Subsidies offered by the Greek State over the two-month period were worth a total of 700 million euros.

DAPEEP sources have ascertained that the sum owed by the operator to energy suppliers will be covered either late this week or early next week.

This delay has increased the cashflow strain felt be energy suppliers, now facing even greater pressure following last week’s invasion of Ukraine by Russia, a development that has sparked a further rise in energy prices.

Electricity market pushed to its limits by widespread debt woes

The country’s electricity market is under severe pressure, being pushed to its financial limits by a chain effect of unfavorable events, namely serious cash-flow issues faced by suppliers, increasing overdue amounts owed by thousands of consumers to suppliers, as well as greater surcharge debt owed by the latter to electricity network operators and municipalities.

This concerning picture was presented in detail yesterday by two market operators, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and RES market operator DAPEEP, to the board at RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, with energy minister Kostas Skrekas also participating.

Teleconferences were also staged with a number of electricity suppliers for discussions on their delays in relaying surcharges collected through electricity bills to network operators and municipal administrations.

Older surcharge amounts owed by suppliers, up until October, 2020, have led to payback arrangements equally dividing these amounts to letters of guarantees and monthly installments. Most of these commitments are being honored by the suppliers.

However, newer debt issues have emerged through the current energy crisis, beginning last autumn.

According to energypress sources, suppliers owe a total amount of 50 million euros to DAPEEP, a little under 10 million euros to power grid operator IPTO, and over 200 million euros to DEDDIE/HEDNO.

Much of the sum owed to DEDDIE/HEDNO has been covered by letters of guarantee issued by suppliers, following a related revision made by the energy ministry last August.

 

Supplier surcharge relay delays to operators on RAE agenda

Details of accumulated electricity-bill surcharge payment delays by electricity suppliers to market operators will be examined at a RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) board meeting tomorrow to involve the participation of three market operators, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, power grid operator IPTO and RES market operator DAPEEP.

The progress of agreements concerning installment-based payments by electricity suppliers to operators for overdue surcharge amounts totaling 347 million euros up until October, 2020 will be on tomorrow’s agenda.

Suppliers owing this surcharge amount have faced penalties for their delays. The suppliers reached agreements to cover 50 percent of surcharge amounts owed with letters of guarantee and settle the remainder through installments over periods ranging from 8 to 10 months.

Besides updates on older surcharge amounts owed by suppliers, the three operators, at tomorrow’s RAE meeting, will also be asked to provide details on more recent unpaid surcharges, especially amounts concerning 2021.

According to RAE officials, a total of 12 electricity suppliers have fallen behind on surcharge payments since October, 2020, leading to an accumulated amount, since that month, of approximately 250 million euros. This figure remains unconfirmed. Tomorrow’s meeting will offer a clearer picture.

In addition, the failure of suppliers to relay municipal-related surcharges, currently worth a total of between 60 and 70 million euros, to municipalities will also be discussed at tomorrow’s RAE board meeting. In some cases, these delays have stretched for periods of up to 18 months.

This issue was discussed at a meeting yesterday between energy minister Kostas Skrekas and representatives of the Central Union of Greek Municipalities (KEDE), who called for a revision that would require electricity suppliers to relay surcharge amounts to municipalities within two months.

 

Subsidies over €1.5bn in ’22, to avoid inflationary pressure

The government’s electricity bill subsidies in 2022 will exceed a total value of 1.5 billion euros and, besides households and small businesses, also include medium and high-voltage consumers, according to sources.

Government officials, including energy minister Kostas Skrekas, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou, deputy finance minister Theodoros Skylakakis, RES market operator DAPEEP’s chief executive Giannis Giarentis and Regulatory Authority of Energy (RAE) chief executive Athanasios Dagoumas, have just held a meeting in search of measures offering protection to consumers against exorbitant energy prices, expected to remain elevated in the first few months of the year.

Final details on the new subsidy package for electricity bills are expected to be set within the coming days before it is announced during the first week of January by the energy and finance ministries.

The plan is expected to include a mechanism automatically calculating subsidies for retail electricity, over a one or two-month period, when wholesale electricity prices exceed a certain level.

Besides offering consumers some energy-crisis relief, the support package’s aim will be to help enterprises avoid increasing prices of products and services, which would prompt inflationary pressure, should energy prices not de-escalate in the coming months.

 

Measure to spare suppliers of interest payments to operators

A legislative revision prepared by the energy ministry will be designed to spare suppliers of having to pay interest on overdue amounts owed to operators as a result of unpaid receivables.

Suppliers will only need to pay interest on overdue amounts owed to operators in cases where court verdicts have ruled for the inclusion of interest payments.

The amendment concerns payments by power suppliers to power grid operator IPTO, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and DAPEEP, the RES market operator.

 

PPC cuts operator, contractor debt by €800m in 2 years

Power utility PPC has settled most of its outstanding debt owed to operators and contractors, reducing the amount from 900 million euros in 2019 to 70 million euros at present, the figure with which the corporation expects to end the year, energypress sources have informed.

During the country’s ten-year recession, prior to the pandemic, PPC’s debt owed to operators and contractors had peaked at nearly one billion euros.

The corporation now owes 50 million euros to contractors and 20 million euros to the three market operators – DAPEEP, the RES market operator; IPTO, the power grid operator; and DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator – latest company data has shown, the sources noted.

Besides benefitting PPC, which, for years, was embroiled in a series of legal battles with operators, contractors and equipment suppliers, the debt reduction is also helping offer market stability.

Other suppliers have had difficulties keeping up with payments to operators during the energy crisis and its narrower profit margins. If PPC, the dominant supplier, was also delaying its payments to operators at present, the energy market may have been in an unstable condition.

The total amount currently owed by electricity suppliers to the market operators is estimated at 350 million euros, making PPC’s 20 million-euro owed just a fraction of the sum.

 

RES producers must return extra revenues from FIPs by December 17

A procedure for the return to DAPEEP, the RES market operator, of extra revenues generated by RES units with feed-in premiums through their participation in the electricity market prior to October, when the market clearing price was above their tariffs, is expected to start today.

According to energypress sources, DAPEEP, in association with banks, has finalized a formula for the return of extra revenues to the RES market operator. It is expected to upload, within the day, related information on the amounts to be returned for extra revenues up until August. Amounts for the other months are expected to be determined within the next few days.

A related energy ministry draft bill set to be ratified will require all extra revenues generated by RES units with feed-in premiums prior to October to be paid by December 17.

 

 

 

 

 

RES supporting surcharge now a competitive component of bills

The energy ministry is working on a plan to change the status of a RES-supporting ETMEAR surcharge included in electricity bills from regulated to competitive by having it incorporated into the pricing policy of suppliers, the objective being to reduce the burden of this surcharge for consumers.

The initiative represents part of the ministry’s wider effort to restructure the RES special account, remunerating renewable energy producers.

The anticipated reduction of the ETMEAR level is expected to be offset by revenues that will be generated by green certificates to be auctioned off by DAPEEP, the RES market operator, a plan taking its cue from a formula adopted in a number of EU member states, including the Netherlands and Poland.

Green certificate revenues could reach as much as 600 million euros per year, energypress sources informed.

Under the new system, suppliers will need to purchase a minimum number of green certificates in proportion with their sales, securing a revenue source for the RES special account.

DAPEEP will no longer need to collect revenues from consumers, instead collecting from suppliers through the new mechanism.

RES license simplification bill reducing steps from 7 to 5

An energy ministry draft bill carrying a second round of RES license simplification measures for prospective projects carries revisions designed to merge three licensing steps into one in order to quicken the overall procedure.

According to the draft bill, three stages needed to be satisfied by investors, the connection term process, installation permit, and establishment of an operating aid contract with RES market operator DAPEEP, will be carried out concurrently.

Until now, one stage has needed to be completed before the next can commence.

This revision will reduce the total number of RES licensing stages to five from seven at present.

Under the new system, the RES licensing procedure will begin with the producer certificate, which investors must obtain before applying for an environmental permit as the second step, and then applying for connection terms as step three. The fourth step for investors will entail establishing agreements with DAPEEP and the grid operator, while the fifth and final stage will involve obtaining an operating license.

The total number of supporting documents required by RES investors for the overall licensing procedure is being reduced from 91 to 54, the energy ministry announced.

 

Supplier overdue payments to operators reaches €350m

Overdue payments owed by energy suppliers to the country’s market operators have been on the rise since summer, now exceeding 350 million euros, a development that has prompted the government to consider implementing an installment-based payment schedule as part of the solution.

The sharp increase in wholesale electricity prices over recent months has had a severe affect on the cash flow of suppliers, putting them under major financial pressure.

However, it should be pointed out that the majority of this 350 million-euro amount owed by suppliers to operators concerns the power utility PPC and includes a considerable amount owed from long before the current energy crisis.

Power grid operator IPTO, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, and RES market operator DAPEEP are all owed sums by the country’s suppliers.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is now considering a three-part solution entailing:  provision of letters of guarantee by suppliers to the operators, to prevent any further rise of the debt owed; immediate deposits covering 50 percent of amounts owed, either in cash or through bank guarantees representing equivalent amounts; and settlement of the remaining 50 percent through an installment-based schedule of between 8 to 12 payments, depending on respective agreements.