Ministry set to intervene if wholesale prices do not fall

The energy ministry is seriously examining the prospect of imposing a price ceiling, next week, on wholesale electricity prices if they do not deescalate over the next three days.

Wholesale electricity prices have risen sharply since last month’s  launch of the target model, pitched by the government as a price-reducing tool.

Day-ahead market prices for today – based on offers made prior to on online meeting between energy minister Costis Hatzidakis and electricity producers – fell mildly to 77 euros per MWh from 90 euros per MWh on Thursday.

If current prices do not fall further, it is a matter of time before suppliers pass them on to the retail market. Prior to the target model, wholesale electricity price levels ranged between 55 and 60 euros per MWh.

Some suppliers are considering to activate cost-related clauses for their tariff prices, while others have done so already, sources informed.

Producers contend the ascent in wholesale electricity prices reflects actual market conditions, adding that their power stations were previously incurring operational losses under the preceding pricing system.

However, energy ministry officials believe producers are exploiting certain rules to artificially raise prices. Hatzidakis, the energy minister, has urged producers to heed the government’s call or face intervention as of Monday.

Producers content with target model markets, suppliers edgy

Any nervousness felt by producers over the target model’s new markets ahead of their November 1 launch are swiftly being quelled by rational trading results. On the contrary, non-vertically integrated suppliers have experienced cost increases and, as a result, are concerned about their company prospects.

Although it still too early to tell, electricity producers believe day-ahead market prices are reflecting actual conditions, rising with shortages and falling with any oversupply.

Day-ahead market prices began at 60.44 euros per MWh on November 11, fell as low as 41.11 euros per MWh on Saturday and rose to 68.36 euros per MWh for today.

These price levels for the day-ahead market, known as the System Marginal Price under the previous system, are regarded as being at rational levels.

Producers have also expressed satisfaction over the balancing market, a largely unknown entity prior to the target model’s launch. Prices have been high, enabling units with flexibility to ensure solid earnings.

Day-ahead market prices are projected to fall, which would subsequently limit electricity imports and require domestic power stations to operate for longer hours.

Higher earnings for producers mean greater costs for suppliers. Non-integrated suppliers are concerned about their prospects under such conditions.

Wholesale prices up on first 2 days of target model trading

The target model’s launch over the weekend was successfully staged with a full field of 45 participating players, but wholesale electricity prices were pushed slightly higher.

Saturday’s day-ahead price for yesterday’s opening day ended at 53 euros per MWh before rising considerably to 61 euros per MWh yesterday for today.

This increase may be the result of a lack of confidence felt by players as they adjust to new market ways. In addition, the entry into the grid of high-cost lignite-fired power stations to cover telethermal systems is another factor.

Though producers, suppliers, traders and renewable energy players all actively traded for the target model’s launch, they have yet to fully come to terms with the new market conditions.

It is a matter of time before the model’s new markets – day-ahead, intraday, balancing – find their rhythm and price levels are normalized, energy sector authorities have noted.

No major issues concerning procedural or technical matters have been reported.

The intraday market launch was smooth. Prices ended at levels set by the day-ahead market as corrections were not made.

As for the balancing market, a brand new tool for the entire system, price levels ended as anticipated, at levels set during dry-run testing in the lead-up to the target model’s launch.

The target model, representing the Greek electricity market’s most significant reform, will enable market coupling with equivalent European markets, a development ultimately expected to reinforce energy security; offer consumers greater financial benefits through transboundary competition; prompt competitive pricing in the wholesale market; facilitate further RES penetration; and, by extension, hasten greenhouse gas emission reductions and the decarbonization effort.

IPTO, handling target model’s balancing market, set for launch

Power grid operator IPTO has declared being fully prepared for its imminent target model role of managing the balancing market, one of the new market systems to come into effect this coming Monday, when the target model is set to be launched.

Besides being tasked with managing the target model’s balancing market, IPTO, in a widely unknown role, will also be responsible for measuring overall operations of the target model.

The balancing market, an extremely complex market system requiring fundamental changes compared to current practices, will perform real-time balancing of demand against available offers.

The energy exchange will be responsible for the target model’s day-ahead and intraday markets.

In the lead-up to the forthcoming launch, IPTO, challenged by pandemic-related obstacles such as travel and staff restrictions, needed to make a series of coordinated efforts. These have included development of information systems and corresponding interface systems with the energy exchange (BMMS, MSS, XBMS and MODESTO), plus staff training.

The target model, representing the Greek electricity market’s most significant reform, is essential for market coupling with equivalent European markets.

The target model promises to reinforce the country’s energy security, offer consumers greater financial benefits through transboundary competition, lead to fair and competitive pricing in the wholesale market, while also facilitating further RES penetration, and, by extension, hastening greenhouse gas emission reductions and the decarbonization effort.

Minister urges target model readiness for smooth launch

Energy minister Costis Hatzidakis has urged all target model officials – including RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy; power grid operator IPTO; the energy exchange and EnExClear – to have resolved any pending issues so that a smooth launch of the model may be achieved on November 1.

Describing the upcoming date as historic for Greece’s energy sector, the minister was essentially conveying concerns of energy producers, traders and suppliers, not yet fully convinced that all market systems will be in full working order for the imminent launch.

The balancing market, in particular, remains a concern. The energy exchange is overseeing the day-ahead and intraday markets and IPTO will manage the balancing market.

Simulated dry-run testing of these markets, conducted for a period of over two months to test their limits and operating ability ahead of the target model launch, was completed about a fortnight ago.

Greece’s lead-up to the EU target model has been affected by a series of delays. Hatzidakis, the energy minister, is clearly determined to see the target model procedure through, not only because it is an EU commitment but also because of its prospective market and consumer benefits.

The target model will result in market coupling, or harmonization of EU wholesale markets, the intention being to eliminate market distortions and intensify competition.

A final full-scale test of all market systems is scheduled for October 27 while all is anticipated to be ready on October 30 ahead of the November 1 launch.

New market dry-run testing to end this week, target model launch on Nov. 1

The dry-run testing procedure for market systems ahead of the forthcoming target model launch, scheduled for November 1, will be finalized at the end of this week, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, the energy exchange and power grid operator IPTO have jointly decided.

Dry-run testing of the day-ahead, intraday and balancing markets began on August 3 to test their limits and operating ability ahead of the target model’s launch, aiming for market coupling, or harmonization of EU wholesale markets.

Market coupling, to increase competition and lower wholesale energy prices, will ultimately lead to energy union, the EU strategy seeking to offer consumers secure, sustainable, competitive and lower-cost energy.

All domestic parties involved, as well as the energy ministry, have ascertained the Greek launch will take place on November 1 following previous delays.

Even during these final days of simulated testing, day-ahead market prices have, at times, continued to display discrepancies with Day-Ahead Schedule price levels.

This has been attributed to the absence, from dry-run testing, of many traders who participate in the Day-Ahead Schedule, meaning the price levels of the two situations are based on different data.

Though balancing market prices have improved considerably as the simulated testing has progressed, following discrepancies, conclusions cannot be made until actual market conditions come into effect.

Meanwhile, public consultation by RAE on a market monitoring mechanism and a market surveillance mechanism for the new markets is due to be completed next Monday.

The market monitoring mechanism will seek, through structural and performance indicators, to evaluate levels of concentration and the market power of each participant, while the market surveillance mechanism will focus on identifying and combating strategies detrimental to competition.

The next step, once the new markets are launched, will be to market couple, initially with the Italian market, by the end of the year, followed by the Bulgarian market, in the first quarter of 2021, Greek energy minister Costis Hatzidakis recently informed.

 

 

Safety mechanism to limit energy exchange fluctuations

Sizeable electricity price discrepancies – compared to day-ahead scheduling market levels – observed by officials in ongoing dry-run testing of Energy Exchange markets ahead of the target model launch scheduled for September 17 and attributed to unrealistic offers made by participants, are expected to narrow as more participants become involved.

Even so, officials supervising the simulated testing of all four Energy Exchange markets – day-ahead, intraday, forward, balancing markets – plan to introduce a safety mechanism enabling participants to make improved follow-up offers if price levels fluctuate beyond upper and lower limits.

Officials at related agencies and the energy ministry are confident the dry run will be completed on time despite being up against a very tight schedule.

The head officials of RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, the energy exchange, and power grid operator IPTO held a summit meeting yesterday with energy minister Costis Hatzidakis and the ministry’s secretary-general, Alexandra Sdoukou, to discuss the progress of the dry run. Other officials meet on a weekly basis to discuss the effort.

To date, any technical issues that have arisen have been resolved. Both the Energy Exchange and IPTO appear ready for the real-life launch. Market systems have been undergoing continual testing since August 3.

However, a shortage in the number of dry-run participants, especially traders, has been observed. This is concerning as current evaluations of the market system performances cannot be considered entirely accurate. All key players – gas-based electricity producers, suppliers, traders, RES producers and aggregators – must be involved in the simulated testing for a dependable picture.

Once the Energy Exchange and IPTO have declared their readiness, RAE will need to offer its approval of the dry run on September 11, a week before the target model’s scheduled September 17 launch.

The aim is for all players to have entered the market systems on September 15 to prepare their orders for the launch two days later.

Crucial week for target model’s dry-run tests of market systems

Though any glitches that have emerged during ongoing simulated testing of all energy exchange market systems ahead of a target model launch scheduled for September 17 have been quickly resolved, officials remain concerned about the venture’s level of readiness.

The number of participants for the dry run’s virtual transactions, especially traders, has been insufficient, while participants are submitting unrealistic offers, officials have observed.

This has prompted major fluctuations as well as sizable electricity price discrepancies compared to day-ahead scheduling market levels.

Market systems at the Energy Exchange, to operate the day-ahead, intraday and forward markets, and at the power grid operator IPTO, operating the balancing market, have been undergoing continual testing since August 3.

This week will be crucial as an increase in the number of participants is anticipated, while heightened maturity in bidding methods is also expected, all of which should result in safer conclusions.

For the time being, a deferral of the target model’s September 17 launch date is not being considered. All operators must declare complete readiness to RAE by September 11 if this launch date is to be maintained.

Electricity price levels, once the target model is launched, cannot be forecast at present. This could be possible within the next few days.

Officials at the energy ministry, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, the energy exchange and IPTO, all monitoring the effort, are scheduled to stage their next weekly meeting tomorrow.

Energy exchange dry run starts, target model launch nearing

Simulated testing of all energy exchange market systems, the dry run, began yesterday, as officially scheduled, putting the launch of the target model on the final stretch.

Market systems linked to power grid operator IPTO, the Greek energy exchange, as well as EnexClear, an energy exchange subsidiary tasked with clearing transactions, are now operating under conditions of virtual reality, signaling the beginning of final-stage testing to be completed at the end of this month.

During the dry run, participating producers and buyers will be making simulated offers and purchases, the objective being to identify possible operational faults or insufficiencies for correction ahead of the official launch of the target model, scheduled for September 17.

All four energy exchange markets – the day-ahead, intraday, forward and balancing markets – are being tested. The energy exchange is in charge of the first three while IPTO is operator of the fourth.

Following August 11, EnexClear will take on a more active role for transaction clearances, a procedure to be performed on a weekly basis.

The overall procedure’s schedule was formalized by a ministerial decision signed on July 10.

August launch of target model not possible, pundits insist

A launch of spot markets at the Greek energy exchange is not possible until September, well-informed market officials insist, rejecting recent claims by power grid operator IPTO deputy chief Yiannis Margaris of an earlier target model start within August.

The energy ministry is currently coordinating with IPTO, the Hellenic Energy Exchange (HENEX) and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for clarity as to when the launch of the target model’s energy exchange markets is feasible.

A June 30 launch date will inevitably be missed, a key problem behind the delay being the absence of a specific date for the delivery of a balancing market platform to IPTO by General Electric, commissioned this project.

A GE team that was stationed in Athens for this project left the country without notice, citing the possibility of greater pandemic danger ahead, in reaction to its outbreak. This has delayed the delivery of the platform.

IPTO is now closely coordinating with GE for a specific delivery date, following the relaxation of lockdown measures.

Trial runs of all market systems linking IPTO, HENEX and EnexClear were scheduled to begin April 10. Dry-run testing, or continual simulation, of market systems was scheduled for May 15, ahead of the June 30 launch date for the target model’s day-ahead, intraday and balancing market launches, now all out of the question.

 

 

RAE starts target model delay investigation, hearing possible

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has launched an investigation seeking to pinpoint the causes behind the delay of the target model’s first stage.

An April 10 deadline was missed for trial runs of all market systems in a procedure involving power grid operator IPTO, the energy exchange and EnexClear.

IPTO was unable to complete the development of a balancing market platform needed for the trial runs. The operator attributed its delay to a coronavirus-related inability by General Electric to deliver required software on time. This delay has now clocked up some 60 days.

The energy authority wants to determine whether any other factors, besides the coronavirus pandemic’s inevitable effect, have played a role in the delay of the trial run.

RAE also wants to examine the impact of the delays until now on the target model’s next stages. A full-scale launch scheduled for June 30, when day-ahead, intraday and balancing markets are expected to begin operating, now appears to be out of the question, while a delay beyond summer is feared.

The authority could summon all parties involved to a hearing to determine whether penalties need to be imposed.

Limit on target model electricity contracts, consultation soon

An upper limit is expected to be imposed on the amount of electricity production companies will be entitled to negotiate for target model contracts, according to a decision by authorities to be forwarded for public consultation within the next few days.

The implementation of an upper limit restricting the amount of electricity a company is permitted to negotiate in the futures market is foreseen in the target model plan. The remainder of electricity will need to be channeled into the day-ahead market to ensure that necessary amounts are available.

For months now, officials have speculated about the level of the upper limit. A clearer picture is expected within the next few days, when terms are forwarded for consultation.

Power utility PPC and independent companies have offered differing views. PPC has insisted on an elevated maximum level, an opinion shared by industrial figures, including EVIKEN, the Association of Industrial Energy Consumers, who believe low-level limits would not enable them to establish contracts with PPC for electricity amounts fully covering their needs.