Uncertainty, multiple thoughts ahead of EU ministers meeting

The EU’s energy ministers meet in Brussels today amid a climate of uncertainty, exacerbated by a barrage of energy-crisis proposals, inappropriate conditions for crucial decision making.

Today’s session comes in the wake of the European Commission’s rejection of a proposal by 15 EU member states for a universal price cap on gas. Many proposals have since emerged.

Brussels yesterday brought back a price-cap proposal for Russian gas. However, it is believed there is little chance of the EU-27 reaching consensus on this measure for two key reasons. Firstly, it is feared Moscow would be prompted to disrupt its European gas supply through all remaining pipelines, including TurkStream, which supplies Greece. Secondly, a price cap on Russian gas supply would represent a breach of contract, by European companies, of Gazprom’s supply agreements, experts have warned.

Other proposals that have been brought forth in the lead-up to today’s meeting of EU energy ministers include European agreements with major LNG producers; the establishment of an alternative to the TTF benchmark that would be connected to the American Henry hub; a price cap on gas used for electricity generation; a windfall tax on excess refinery earnings; a limit to electricity producer windfall profits; and a compulsory reduction of electricity consumption.

Regardless of the choices made and route taken, ordinary European citizens will be anxious to see a reduction in energy costs.

Time limit for universal electricity supply service

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has, according to sources, received orders from the energy ministry to impose a time limit on the period consumers can rely on a universal electricity supply service, covering the needs of black-listed consumers reported by suppliers for electricity-bill payment failures.

At present, usage of the universal electricity supply service by consumers with outstanding electricity bills has no limit, but higher tariffs are charged for the service.

It is provided by the country’s five biggest electricity suppliers, in terms of retail market share, who share the pool of old and new unwanted customers and provide the universal supply service.

Recent market data showed an increasing trend in the number of households resorting to the universal electricity supply service.

RAE has proposed the establishment of a collective debt-flagging system, which would be maintained by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, based on consumer appraisals provided by electricity retailers.

Consumers who continue to not pay electricity bills through the universal electricity supply service will face electricity supply cuts, under the proposed revision.



Public service compensation system revised, October launch

Revised public service compensation (YKO) surcharges for electricity bills, recently announced by energy minister Kostas Skrekas, will come into effect as of next month, households of the previous system’s three consumption level categories facing a uniform rate of 1.7 cents per KWh.

The revised public service compensation system is expected to result in an additional 300 million euros, annually, for a risk hedging mechanism.

The revisions will result in a public service compensation increase of 1.01 cents per KWh for low-voltage consumption levels of up to 1,600 KWh during a four-month period, as this category’s existing rate is 0.69 cents per KWh.

On the contrary, the public service compensation cost for households using greater electricity amounts will be reduced as the existing surcharge for consumption levels between 1,601 and 2,000 KWh is 5 cents per KWh and 8.5 cents per KWh for consumption over 2,000 KWh.

Medium-voltage consumers will face a public service compensation increase, from 0.69 cents per KWh to 1.7 cents per KWh.

The public service compensation surcharge rate will remain unchanged at 4.14 euros per MWh for energy-intensive industrial consumers.

Under the new system, farmers using low-voltage electricity will face increased public service compensation surcharge rates, as will municipalities, for their road lights.


Gas heating most affordable option following new subsidy

The energy ministry has announced a natural gas-heating subsidy of 9 cents per liter, making gas heating the lowest-cost heating solution for households – compared to fuel and electricity – despite a 300 percent natural gas price increase compared to a year ago.

This gas subsidy comes as crucial support for the mass of households that took pre-crisis decisions to convert to gas heating over the past decade or so, only to see gas prices skyrocket in recent months.

Taking into account the gas subsidy, announced yesterday by energy minister Kostas Skrekas, gas heating will begin the winter season at 12 cents per liter (120 euros/MWh), below the cost of 13 to 14 cents per liter for heating fuel and 16 cents for electricity heating.

The gas heating subsidy level is based on the assumption, by gas companies, of TTF price levels of roughly 200 euros per MWh in coming months.

Given the aforementioned figures, the heating cost for a 100 square-meter apartment requiring 9,000 KWh for heating over a winter is 1,000 euros for gas heating, 1,250-1,300 euros for fuel heating, and 1,450-1,500 euros for electricity heating.

Without the gas heating subsidy, the resulting gas heating cost, priced at 21 cents per liter, would reach nearly 2,000 euros for a 100 square-meter property.



Natural gas charge introduced for generation quantities

The energy ministry has announced a 10-euro per thermal MWh charge on natural gas used by natural gas-fueled power stations, a key reason behind the initiative being the need to reduce gas demand as part of the country’s wider effort for less gas consumption, ministry sources explained.

In addition, the measure’s implementation serves as preparation for a possible decision by EU member states to impose a price cap on all electricity generation technologies other than gas, the ministry sources noted.

Independent electricity producers admitted being caught by surprise, noting they found out about the new measure through the media.

“We are unaware of the reason why the ministry is proceeding with such a move given the fact that the revenue recovery mechanism (price cap) collects funds for energy-bill support,” one representative noted.

Electricity production company sources estimated the measure is worth roughly 400 million euros per year.

October tariffs down, subsidies to reward lower power usage

Supplier electricity tariffs for October, due to be announced tomorrow, will be lower compared to September levels and are seen ranging between 0.599 and 0.680 euros per KWh.

A recently introduced market rule requires suppliers to provide their next month’s prices by the 20th of the preceding month.

Pricing for next month has proven very difficult to calculate as market conditions remain very fluid, TTF index prices changing continuously, market officials noted.

However, Greek market peculiarities, factoring in natural gas prices with some delay, are expected to result in lower retail electricity prices next month, the officials explained.

A day after October’s electricity tariffs are announced, the government plans to release a new subsidy formula, to become effective October 1.

According to sources, three consumption level categories will be established, the subsidies to be offered for each inversely related to electricity usage. For example, consumers with usage placing them in the highest consumption category will receive the lowest subsidies and vice versa.

Also, higher-usage consumers in lower subsidy categories will be elevated to the next highest subsidy category if they can reduce consumption by 15 percent compared to a year earlier.




EC windfall profits tax soon, revision to local plan possible

Greece will not be required to make adjustments to its windfall profits tax on electricity producers now that the European Commission is preparing to implement a corresponding tax mechanism covering the entire EU, energy ministry sources have told energypress.

Brussels’ related directive notes that EU member states already implementing wholesale electricity market interventions to contain retail prices, namely Greece, Spain and Portugal, can maintain their measures, with any revisions being at their discretion, the ministry sourced added.

However, revisions to the Greek formula, influenced by details in the European model, cannot be ruled out, as government officials will examine whether partial changes can be made to improve the formula recovering electricity producer windfall profits for the country’s day-ahead market, the ministry sources added.



Energy saving compensation for industry, incentives for households, businesses

Industrial enterprise compensation packages, offered through auctions, in exchange for lower energy consumption, and energy-saving incentives for households to be announced at the end of this month, have been included in a Greek plan aiming to achieve a European Commission order for a 5 percent reduction of electricity usage by all EU member states.

It will be up to each EU member state to decide on the details of respective formulas achieving the crisis measure’s objective set by the European Commission.

The Greek plan is greatly relying on industrial players to embrace compensation packages to be offered through auctions.

Reduced energy usage by households and businesses will be optional as, contrary to other EU countries, smart meters, offering immediate online information on energy consumption, have yet to be installed in Greece.

A promotional campaign encouraging households and businesses to use less electricity will be launched at the end of this month, immediately after the energy ministry has announced subsidy-related incentives.


‘EC intervention acceptance of energy market failure’

The European Commission has finally decided to adopt state intervention measures in energy markets, mainly electricity, after much delay, essentially accepting the failure of markets to produce desired results, Pantelis Kapros, Professor of Energy Economics at the National Technical University of Athens, has noted in an analysis.

Major energy price increases needed to spread throughout Europe for Brussels to decide to intervene, the energy expert noted.

Fixed price offers and price hedging contracts – which, in many countries, secured, over a considerable period, relatively stable retail electricity prices not reflecting rising electricity prices at energy exchanges – have become impossible to maintain as a result of the extended energy price crisis, the professor pointed out in his analysis.

Consumer prices are now skyrocketing virtually everywhere in Europe, increasing the risk of bankruptcies, a perilous situation that has prompted EU governments to push the European Commission for state intervention proposals, the professor underlined.

During this crisis, electricity markets have failed to achieve consumer prices at levels reflecting the true long-term average cost of electricity, as healthy competition would, the professor noted.

Given the exorbitant natural gas prices at present, green hydrogen would represent a lower-cost alternative, if infrastructure was in place, the professor noted, concluding green transition is the only positive way out of the problem, as has now been recognized by all.

RAE warns power suppliers to correct billing details

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has warned all suppliers to present their pricing policies in accordance with a new model introduced in August, energypress sources have informed.

The authority has asked suppliers to correct their presentation of competitive charges, be punctual with their monthly announcement of latest charges, by the 20th of every month, as required by the new model, and to withdraw any retroactive discounts being used.

RAE’s demand for a correction of competitive charge presentations was prompted after monitoring by the authority determined that a small number of suppliers were not presenting their details in accordance with the sector’s rules.


Revised subsidies, aiming for lower power usage, in October

A revised subsidy package for electricity, which has been shaped by the energy ministry and will be introduced in October, will inversely relate subsidies offered with electricity usage levels, while bonus subsidies will be offered to households and businesses that manage to reduce electricity consumption by 10 percent compared to levels registered a year earlier.

Until now, flat-rate electricity subsidies have been offered to all consumers regardless of consumption levels.

The new plan’s objective is to offer consumers incentive for reduced electricity usage during what is expected to be a challenging winter. Natural gas, currently the highest-cost energy source, is responsible for roughly 40 percent of electricity generation in Greece.

The new electricity subsidy plan’s implementation in October was confirmed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the ongoing Thessaloniki International Fair.

Heating fuel subsidy boost for minimal electricity heating

Heating fuel subsidies will continue being offered universally in Greece this coming winter, but at a higher level, up to 20 cents per liter, or 25 cents per liter including VAT, along with more generous income criteria, as the government wants to make fuel-based heating the lowest-cost heating solution this winter in order to minimize the number of households turning to electricity for heating.

Increased electricity usage would mean increased demand for natural gas, the costliest energy source at present. Natural gas represents roughly 40 percent of overall electricity generation in Greece.

The new subsidy package for fuel heating is expected to enable all consumers to purchase heating fuel at a level of 1.30 to 1.40 euros per liter, instead of 1.60 euros per liter, the price level if supply were to start now.

Heating fuel subsidies in Greece were worth a total of 174 million euros last winter, a sum seen rising to 300 million euros this season.

The number of households eligible for heating fuel subsidies is expected to increase to 1.3 million from 800,000 last winter as a result of a planned income criteria revision widening the offer’s eligibility.

The offer’s personal income criterion is expected to increase to between 17,000 and 18,000 euros per annum from 14,000 euros at present for single-resident homes, while corresponding income criteria rises will be made for families.


New subsidy model, in October, to reward lower power usage

The government is preparing to replace flat-rate electricity subsidies offered to all consumers, regardless of power usage levels, with a new subsidy model rewarding consumers using less electricity.

According to government sources, a new model for electricity subsidies will be implemented October 1 for households, professionals and businesses.

Under the new system, subsidies will be determined by an algorithm taking into account energy savings.

Officials have yet to decide whether subsidies will only be awarded to consumers who have achieved specific consumption reduction targets, or whether various subsidy levels offered will be inversely related to power usage.

For example, consumption levels of up to 300 KWh in a month could by subsidized by certain amount that would be reduced for consumers exceeding this monthly consumption limit.

The subsidy model changes, to be made quickly, are likely to cause complications for suppliers, who are still coming to grips with the existing subsidy system and are not expected to be informed of the new plan’s finalized details until just before its launch.

Suppliers have already made clear that a subsidy system awarding households and businesses amounts inversely related to consumption levels would be the fairest solution.


Government moves ahead with plan to reduce energy consumption

The introduction of energy saving measures, both compulsory and optional, for consumers has now become a priority for the government following growing shortage fears, throughout Europe, prompted by Russia’s indefinite closure of the Nord Steam I gas pipeline, supplying Germany and, by extension, central Europe.

At a meeting of government officials in Athens yesterday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis agreed to move ahead with measures intended to restrict electricity and natural gas consumption in an effort to avoid energy shortages during winter, sources informed.

The government will aim to decrease the amount of natural gas used for electricity generation by approximately 10 TWh, sector officials told energypress.

Annual natural gas consumption in Greece amounts to 70 TWh, of which 50 TWh is used for electricity generation.

An initiative was taken in early July, through a joint ministerial decision, to reduce electricity consumption at all public buildings, numbering 212,000, by 10 percent. The response, so far, has been poor, according to sources.

Campaigns raising the public’s awareness of the need to cut back on energy consumption will soon be launched by energy companies and operators. Citizens will be advised to keep heating temperatures at a maximum of 19 degrees Celsius and lights switched off in rooms not being used.

The government is also striving to limit electricity and natural gas consumption in the industrial sector.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas met yesterday with key industrialists at the helms of Titan cement group, Viohalco and the Mytilineos group, whose subsidiaries include Aluminium of Greece, to discuss plans limiting energy consumption, as well as the replacement of natural gas with diesel as an energy source wherever possible.



Brussels preparing crisis action, natural gas price cap likely

The European Commission is preparing drastic action to counter the energy crisis in the form of a price cap on European wholesale gas prices to deescalate electricity prices around Europe.

According to energypress sources, details of the plan will have been finalized by around September 20 so that it can then be discussed by the EU’s energy ministers and heads of state.

Despite these necessary steps, the finalized plan could well be ready for implementation by the end of September as Brussels is seeking a swift procedure.

Highlighting the cruciality of the gas-cap plan for Brussels, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen is being regularly updated on its progress by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy.

The Directorate-General for Energy is believed to be examining two alternative plans, sources informed.

The first alternative, seen as the more probable option, would entail gas import disruptions for gas offered at prices over the cap to be implemented. Brussels authorities believe Europe’s considerable share of global fuel demand could help subdue gas prices if orders are stopped collectively. The second alternative would involve subsidy support for gas imports.



RAE approves energy crisis plans for winter sufficiency

The board at RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has approved preventive action and risk preparedness plans for the country’s electricity sector, two tools shaped in response to soaring gas and electricity prices, breaking records, in the energy crisis.

Though it is generally hoped they will be needless, the two tools could prove useful during what is expected to be a challenging winter throughout Europe, including Greece.

The preventive action plan was approved by RAE following certain revisions to the initial plan, concerning gas reserve requirements.

According to the plan, a new floating storage unit installed in June at the LNG terminal on the islet Revythoussa, just off Athens, will maintain 0.57 TWH in strategic reserves for electricity production, while 1.14 TWh in gas supplier reserves will be stored at an Italian storage facility.

However, the plan is non-binding as these gas reserves may also be stored at other facilities if preferred by players, who are required to maintain strategic gas reserves.


September subsidy support results in tariffs as low as €0.02/KWh

Household electricity prices in September will range from as low as €0.02 per KWh, well below pre-crisis levels, to €0.16 per KWh, given the government’s latest subsidy plan for the month, offering €0.639 per KWh for all households and all suppliers, a support package based on September’s price levels announced by power utility PPC, supplying the majority of Greece’s households and businesses.

The government’s subsidy package is based on an intention to lower household electricity prices to August levels (€0.15-€0.16/KWh), which led to a subsidy offer of €0.639 per KWh.

PPC set its price for September at €0.788/KWh for the first 500 KWh of consumption and €0.80/KWh for consumption beyond this level. Deducting the government’s €0.639 subsidy offer takes the resulting price for consumers to between €0.149 and €0.161/KWh, the levels charged in August.

As for other suppliers, Protergia’s resulting price, once the subsidy has been factored in, is €0.14313/KWh, down from the nominal price of €0.78213 cents.

Elpedison’s nominal rate for September was set at €1.0864/KWh, minus a €0.40/KWh Elpedison Loyalty Pass discount, taking the offer to €0.6864, which, following the government’s subsidy deduction, results in a net charge of just €0.029/KWh.

Heron’s €0.75/KWh price works out to a net charge of €0.111/KWh once the government’s €0.639/KWh subsidy has been factored in.

Adverse market conditions pushing gas prices to new record levels

Europe’s energy market appears all the more likely to remain stuck in an extended energy crisis of new record levels for natural gas prices, and, by extension, electricity prices, analysts are projecting

Yesterday, gas prices at the Dutch TTF exchange neared a six-month high, rising by over 48 euros in a day as a response to an upcoming three-day disruption of operations at Nord Stream I at the end of the month for maintenance work.

European officials fear an extended disruption of Nord Stream I, beyond the scheduled three-day period.

Gas futures contracts for September yesterday reached as high as 293 euros per MWh, the highest level since March 8.

The energy situation in the European Union in the coming autumn and winter is going to be extremely difficult, the SEB bank noted in a report.

Yesterday, investment bank Citigroup warned that the inflation rate in the UK may reach 19 percent in early 2023 as a result of skyrocketing gas prices, projected to rise almost fivefold compared to the beginning of this year.

Europe will need to compete with major Asian LNG importers such as China, Japan and South Korea to secure required LNG loads, not subject to long-term supply agreements.

LNG prices in Asia have exceeded 57 dollars per million BTU, some loads offered for nearly 60 dollars per million BTU.

September electricity subsidies to be doubled to nearly €2bn

The government intends to absorb the greatest part of electricity price increases for September through subsidies expected to reach nearly two billion euros for the month, a support package seen subduing retail tariffs at 0.15 euro per KWh, the level of retail electricity prices in August.

This latest monthly subsidy amount is nearly double the 1.136 billion euros the government needed to commit for August to fight escalating energy costs.

Electricity retailers announced higher tariffs for September a couple of days ago, but the latest subsidies are expected to keep prices virtually unchanged for household consumers. The cost of electricity for businesses, however, is seen doubling next month.

Electricity subsidies for September will need to increase sharply to a level of 0.60 euro per KWh, up from 0.337 euro per KWh in August, a 70 percent increase.

Approximately 900 million euros of the government’s two billion-euro subsidy package for September will be covered through the state budget, while the other 1.1 billion euros will hail from the Energy Transition Fund, which gathers CO2 emission right auction revenues, RES special account surpluses and windfall profit taxes imposed on electricity producers.

Brussels report highlights EU’s alarming energy cost increase

The cost of wholesale electricity in the EU rose by over 400 percent in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the equivalent period a year earlier, while gas imports during this period cost the EU a total of 78 billion euros, of which 27 billion euros concerned Russian natural gas quantities, a report published by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy has shown.

Households and businesses across the continent have faced unprecedented natural gas cost increases following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. Consequently, the TTF index skyrocketed to peak at 212 euros per MWh on March 7.

The EU adopted a series of sanctions primarily concerning the energy sector as a result of the Russian attack, the report noted. Also, in May, the EU approved its REPower EU plan, designed to gradually end Europe’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels, bolster the continent’s energy security, and support the green-energy transition.

Imports of Russian gas fell by 71 percent via Belarus and 41 percent via Ukraine in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the equivalent period a year earlier. Gas inflow from the Nord Stream pipeline linking Russia with Germany fell by 60 percent in early June.

Europe’s wholesale electricity price averaged 201 euros per MWh in the first quarter of 2022, 281 percent higher than the equivalent period in 2021, the report noted.

Spain and Portugal registered the highest wholesale electricity price increases during this period, a 411 percent rise, followed by Greece (343%) and France (336%), the report noted.

Gov’t faces fiscal battle for manageable energy bill costs

The government faces a tough fiscal battle to keep energy bill costs within the reach of consumers, a continuously growing challenge given the persistent rise in the price of natural gas, a key source for electricity generation, as a result of escalated tensions between the West and Russia over the latter’s war in Ukraine.

The continual rise in energy prices threatens to derail the government’s support plan for energy consumers and producers.

Last Friday, the price of wholesale natural gas ended trading just under 150 euros per MWh. Its cost rose by 70 percent between June 1 and July 1, from 87 euros per MWh to 147.5 euros per MWh.

The government is searching for fiscal leeway to limit energy prices, compensate producers and subsidize consumer energy bills.

As part of the effort, energy minister Kostas Skrekas has pledged to raise close to 6 billion euros over the next 12 months by taxing windfall profits of producers. This sum is expected to be boosted further by contributions from the Emissions Trading System (ETS), budget and European funding programs.

It remains unclear if the overall amount to be raised will be enough. The cost of electricity and gas bill subsidies in 2022 could exceed 6 billion euros. The cost in the first half of the year reached 2.4 billion euros, while 3.6 billion euros have been budgeted for the second half of the year.


Soaring Greek energy futures at European energy exchange

Greek energy futures at the European energy exchange are on an upward trajectory from August onwards, as is the case with most European markets.

Greece’s energy futures for August ended yesterday’s trading session at 343 euros per MWh, while September futures were sold for 417 euros per MWh, taking the quantity ordered for the month to 926 GWh.

Greek energy futures for the fourth quarter of 2022 also rose, reaching 351 euros, following recent trends set by Germany and Italy, as well as Greece’s day-ahead market over the past month, which has risen from 260 euros to levels consistently over 300 euros.

Despite the high costs, the government is hoping its retail electricity market revisions can rekindle interest in futures.

In any case, developments in the wider electricity market due to the energy crisis have strengthened the reflexes of companies, pushing them towards safety moves through the acquisition of relevant products.

Gov’t aims to increase subsidy support to €450m per month

The government will seek to increase the value of its electricity subsidies to 450 million euros a month with the aim of lowering electricity prices for consumers to pre-crisis levels, when they were as low as 17 cents per KWh, roughly half the current levels of 30 to 35 cents per KWh, sources have informed.

The plan will begin taking shape as of July 1, when the government introduces price caps for electricity producers, whose windfall profits will be taxed to help fund the energy-crisis battle.

The overall effort will require government officials to be vigilant for fiscal leeway as figures in this domain can fluctuate from day to day.

Government officials have estimated that revenue from the EU’s Emissions Trading System could reach an annual sum of between 3.5 and 4 billion euros. This, however, will not suffice to fully cover the administration’s energy-crisis plan, meaning the government will also seek to utilize state budget money and all available EU support programs.

There is some concern about the government’s calculations for the second half of the year as they are based on the assumption of wholesale electricity price levels at 225 euros per MWh. However, the ongoing tension between the West and Russia over its invasion of Ukraine has driven wholesale electricity prices even higher, currently at 306 euros per MWh.

RAE introduces five electricity billing categories

Revised billing layout guidelines forwarded by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to electricity suppliers include five billing categories, leading to a framework enabling the suspension of wholesale price clauses.

The five categories offer: fixed tariffs; flexible tariffs with limitless adjustment clauses; flexible tariffs with upper and lower limits to adjustment clauses; flexible tariffs without upper and lower limits to adjustment clauses; and flexible tariffs without adjustment clauses.

The objective is to categorize new bills emerging in the market. The existing categorization system, comprised of three categories, would have led to consumer confusion as a result of structural inconsistencies.

Energy companies must now reshape commercial policies

Energy companies will need to reshape their commercial policies as a result of yesterday’s ratification of legislation for extraordinary contributions including a mechanism, effective as of July 1, for collection of windfall profits earned by energy producers.

Though the extraordinary contributions energy companies will need to hand over to the state will be far lower than originally planned, the sum, estimated at between 300 and 400 million euros over a nine-month period, will, nevertheless, result in an outflow of earnings to be used by the government for support of its subsidies offered to consumers.

This sum to result from the tax concerns windfall profits earned from October, 2021.

Vertically integrated energy groups will now need to reassess their commercial policies, including discounts, fixed tariffs, installment-based payment arrangements for overdue energy bills, and punctual-customer bonuses, as the new measures will narrow their profit margins.

The windfall profit tax will be set at 90 percent while a price cap is planned to be imposed in the wholesale electricity market. The level at which this price cap is to be set remains unclear.


Key energy infrastructure included in new recovery fund

The government, intending to make the most of its favourable geographic location for diversified natural gas supply in the wider region, plans to seek EU funding support, through the REPowerEU package, for a series of natural gas and electricity grid projects awaiting development.

These projects are planned to be included in the country’s revised EU Recovery and Resilience Facility, to be submitted to by the government to the European Commission by early July.

The investments will aim to end Greece’s reliance on Russian energy sources by 2027, as planned by the REPowerEU package.

Besides the addition of natural gas infrastructure, absent from Greece’s existing recovery plan as a result of the European Commission’s unfavorable view on funding support for projects concerning natural gas, seen as a transitional energy source towards zero emissions, the country’s revised plan will also seek to incorporate electricity transmission projects that will contribute to the reinforcement of renewable energy sources in Europe’s energy mix.

The government is believed to have already prepared its catalogue of electricity and natural gas infrastructure project proposals to seek funding through the REPowerEU initiative.

An electricity grid interconnection project to link the Greek and Egyptian systems and transmit green energy, exclusively, to Greece and the EU has been included in the Greek catalogue, sources informed.

An additional central gas pipeline, to run 650 km from Komotini, northeastern Greece, to Elefsina’s Patima area, west of Athens, has also been included in the Greek catalogue, following a request by DESFA, the gas grid operator.

Brussels crisis plan presented to EU leaders next week

The European Commission will present a short-term intervention plan for the electricity and natural gas markets at a council meeting of EU leaders next week, the validity of the measures to run through next winter, until May 1, 2023, according to sources.

It remains unclear if this set of measures, intended to subdue exorbitant energy prices, has been finalized or will undergo revisions.

The package is believed to contain new measures as well as older ones that have already been discussed at national and European level.

The plan includes an initiative for the establishment of an EU Energy Platform, whose aim will be to ensure energy supply at fair prices as well as greatly reduced, even eliminated, reliance on Russian natural gas.

EU member states will be given a specific period of time to regulate prices in the retail gas market. Emergency cash-flow measures offering relief to traders will also be made available.

Electricity market measures are expected to include taxation or regulation of excess earnings, energy price regulation in the retail market, as well as price regulation for small and medium-sized enterprises.



Spain, Portugal price cap agreement to guide Greek plan

Spain and Portugal’s agreement with the European Commission for the implementation of a temporary cap of 50 euros per MWh on reference prices for natural gas and coal used by power plants, effectively detaching wholesale electricity market prices from the cost of these generation sources, promises to serve as a guide for Greece’s negotiations with Brussels for intervention in the country’s wholesale electricity market.

Spain and Portugal had requested a temporary cap on reference prices of 30 euros per MWh, for one year.

The price of electricity in Spain and Portugal will be the same as that applicable for transactions with the rest of the EU, via France, El Pais reported.

The limited capacity of the Iberian Peninsula’s electricity grid interconnections with France will restrict electricity exports from Spain and Portugal. Otherwise, lower electricity prices resulting from the temporary cap would have prompted a sharp rise in electricity exports from Spain and Portugal.

Though the Greek government is on standby for a European price-cap solution to the energy crisis, Athens has already begun regulatory and legislative preparations for domestic market intervention.

Electricity, gas subsidies same for May, totaling nearly €600m

Electricity and gas subsidies covering household, professional and business consumption in May will most likely remain unchanged compared to the previous month, resulting in a support package worth a total of nearly 600 million euros.

The government is expected to officially announce its subsidy package for May within the next few days.

Wholesale electricity price levels have changed only slightly between March and April. The price level was over 242 euros per MWh from the beginning of April until yesterday, slightly below the level of 272.68 euros per MWh at the end of March.

Assuming energy subsidies will remain unchanged for consumption in May, households consuming up to 300 KWh in electricity can expect subsidy support, for the month, worth approximately 72 euros.

Professionals should receive subsidies worth 130 euros per MWh, while small and medium-sized businesses can expect subsidy support worth 230 euros per MWh for supply up to 25kVA.

Household natural gas subsidies should reach 40 euros per MWh.