Wholesale electricity prices down considerably in first half

The System Marginal Price, or wholesale electricity price, has fallen considerably and consistently throughout the first half of the year, driven down by lower natural gas prices and a dramatic contraction of lignite-fired generation, now a costly option.

Official data released by the energy exchange shows lignite’s energy mix dominance is fading and renewable energy sources are gaining ground, while natural gas-fueled generation is consistently at the helm. 

The SMP fell throughout the first-half period, falling 22.45 percent to 59.68 euros per MWh in January, compared to the equivalent month a year earlier; 28.55 percent to 49.23 euros per MWh in February; 43.65 percent to 43.65 euros per MWh in March; 54.31 percent to 28.51 euros per MWh in April; 48 percent to 34.27 euros per MWh in May; and 50.04 percent to 34.04 euros per MWh in June.

The SMP is primarily determined by natural gas-fueled power stations, their price-setting involvement measuring 60 percent in June, the energy exchange data showed.

Also in June, natural gas was responsible for 48.06 percent of overall generation, the RES sector generated 34.74 percent of total production, hydropower contributed 9.77 percent, while lignite-fired generation was limited to 7.42 percent.

PPC tender for transformation of commercial division

Power utility PPC, acknowledging, amid an increasingly competitive market, the need to modernize its profile, services and relations with the customer base and energy consumers in general, has decided to stage a tender for a specialized consultant to be tasked with transforming the company’s commercial division.

PPC will invite consultants with specialized skills in this domain to submit offers for the transformation project, whose budget has been estimated at 1.5 million euros by the company.

The winning bidder will be tasked with the design, planning, coordination and monitoring of the implementation of the transformation plan.

Also, the winning consultant will be expected to further develop all service channels, develop retention tools for high-value customers, and also design and launch new value-added products in accordance with modern trends and standards.

Support for the digital transformation of PPC’s commercial activities will also be included in the project.

Remaining energy utility sales, DEDDIE and IPTO, nearing

The time is nearing for Greece’s two remaining energy utility  privatizations, those of electricity distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and power grid operator IPTO.

An energy ministry official yesterday updated journalists on the progress of both sales at a presentation of gas distributor DEDA’s five-year investment plan.

All details concerning the sale of a 49 percent stake in DEDDIE/HEDNO, a fully owned power utility PPC subsidiary, will be ready and finalized in September, enabling the announcement of a tender that month, according to the ministry official.

Preparations for this sale include the evaluation and transfer of assets used by DEDDIE/HEDNO from PPC to the operator.

As for the IPTO sale, talks between the operator and China’s SGCC – already holding a 24 percent stake in IPTO and first-offer rights in the event of the sale of a further stake in the operator – are still at an early stage.

The energy ministry is moving carefully in an effort to comply with fine details of EU directives concerning the entry of non-EU members into European enterprises and infrastructure.

Launch of electromobility subsidy program now imminent

A draft bill for subsidies supporting purchases of electric cars, scooters, bicycles and recharging units is set for publication in the government gazette today ahead of a needed ministerial decision, probably next week, and the launch of a related platform for applicants, expected in August.

Prospective buyers of electric vehicles and rechargers do not need to wait until the platform is launched. If all criteria are met, buyers can proceed with purchases whose outlay will be deemed valid for subsidy support, energy ministry sources told energypress.

However, buyers will need to promptly lodge their subsidy applications to the platform once it is launched, probably within August, to secure their subsidies.

Just like the “Saving at Home” subsidy program for domestic energy efficiency upgrades, electromobility subsidy applications lodged to the platform will be processed in chronological order until the program’s budget, totaling 100 million euros for one and a half years, has been fully absorbed.

Some 16,000 to 17,000 applications – for electric cars, exclusively – would be enough to fully cover the 100 million-euro amount offered.

A big response and swift absorption of funds is likely to lead to the release of further subsidies supporting the electromobility sector.

The government announced a series of incentives early in June with the aim of invigorating the electric car, scooter and bicycle market. The public’s response to the platform will serve as a crucial indicator on the appeal of these incentives.

Electric car purchases of up to 30,000 euros are expected to be subidized by 20 percent, while a lower subsidy rate of 15 percent is planned for purchases exceeding 30,000 euros.

High-voltage power demand up during lockdown, exchange data shows

Industrial high-voltage electricity demand during lockdown in Greece registered an unanticipated increase, rising by 12.46 percent in March, 21.86 percent in April, 30.62 percent in May and 19.71 percent in June, all compared to the equivalent month a year earlier, according to figures provided by the energy exchange.

Prior to lockdown, high-voltage electricity demand registered a milder 2.46 percent increase in February compared to the same month a year earlier.

Overall, in the first half of 2020, demand for high-voltage electricity rose by 14.87 percent compared to the equivalent period a year earlier, the energy exchange figures showed.

On the contrary, demand for mid-voltage and low-voltage electricity between February and May fell to lower levels compared to last year, according to the energy exchange data, reflecting inequalities in the impact of the pandemic on various economic sectors.

Mid-voltage electricity demand slumped 18.89, 22.43 and 22.08 percent in April, May and June, respectively, compared to the equivalent months a year earlier.

In the low-voltage category, concerning households, electricity demand fell considerably during the five-month period from February to June, registering drops of 6.08, 10.96, 19.1, 12.77 and 18.45 percent, respectively.

Figures provided by power grid operator showed an overall decrease, for all categories, of 4.3 percent in the first half of 2020 and a high-voltage demand decrease of 9.4 percent.

Power demand dives 14.61% in June as tourism slumps

Electricity demand slumped 14.61 percent in June, compared to a year earlier, despite the month’s lifting of lockdown measures, latest Greek energy exchange figures have shown.

June’s drop in power demand, attributed to the unprecedented decline in tourism activity, was even bigger than the declines registered in April and May, 13 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

Numerous hotels and other tourism industry units have not opened for business. Also, flight bans were essentially not lifted until the beginning of this month.

Responding to the drop in electricity demand, energy producers have restricted output by 16 percent.

Natural gas and renewables dominated electricity generation in June. Natural gas-fueled generation covered 36.56 percent of demand, while RES production covered 26.43 percent, the energy exchange’s June report showed. Electricity imports covered 23.93 percent, hydropower 7.43 percent and lignite-fired production 5.64 percent.

 

 

Consumer shifts between independent suppliers at 30%

Roughly 30 percent of electricity consumers shifting from one electricity supplier to another are not moving away from the power utility PPC, as was usually the case up until just a few months ago, but from one independent supplier to another, a reflection of a further increase in competition, to the benefit of consumers, latest market data has shown.

Besides price offers, consumers are now also taking into consideration other factors such as supplier reliability, service standards and provision of supplementary services when choosing suppliers. This broader consideration is seen as a sign of the electricity market’s growing maturity.

Independent suppliers now face bigger bad debt figures as a result of an increase in unpaid receivables prompted by a number of factors, including business closures, consumer departures despite unpaid electricity bills, payment defaults, as well as tax file number changes by consumers seeking escape.

The scale of this undesirable situation for independent suppliers is nowhere near that of the enormous collection problem faced by PPC.

However, the bad debt problem highlights that independent suppliers, as a consequence of their efforts to boost market shares, are now dealing with a growing number of unreliable consumers. It also underlines the market’s tightened cash flow, especially in the business sector, as a result of the pandemic and recession.

REN21 chief: RES policies must also look beyond electricity

Renewable energy sources are gaining greater presence but their growth rate is insufficient to cover gaps in sectors beyond electricity generation, professor Arthuros Zervos, president of REN21, a global energy policy network supporting a rapid transition to renewable energy, has made clear in an interview with energypress.

The main focus is still on electricity generation but it is vitally important that the attention is also turned to other domains such as heating, cooling and transportation, as these fields represent more than 80 percent of energy consumption, Zervos noted, reiterating positions included in REN21’s Renewables 2020 Global Status Report, just presented.

A total of 143 countries implemented decarbonization policies between 2004 and 2019, while green policies for transportation and heating/cooling during the same period were limited to 70 and 23 countries, respectively, the report showed.

Taking a look at the bigger picture of the global energy mix shows that renewable energy sources represented a mere 11 percent of total energy consumption in 2018, the REN21 chief noted.

The RES sector’s share of total energy consumption has increased by just 1.4 percent between 2013 and 2018, from 9.6 to 11 percent, he pointed out.

Fossil fuels maintained a dominant share of total energy consumption, at 79.9 percent, while the biomass sector registered 6.9 percent and nuclear energy 2.2 percent, the REN21 chief noted.

An anemic investment growth rate in green energy and renewables, worldwide, during the age of energy transition is another cause for concern, Zervos underlined.

RES investments grew by just 1 percent between 2018 and 2019 to reach 282 billion dollars, the REN21 head noted.

“The objective should be to accelerate RES growth and not slow it down,” Zervos explained, adding that policies supporting RES growth need to be shaped and supported.

 

PPC broadens next voluntary exit plan, set for September

The board at power utility PPC has decided to broaden its voluntary exit program to include eligible staff from all divisions, currently estimated at between 1,700 and 1,800 employees aged over 55.

However, less than a third of these employees, some 500 in total, are believed to have accumulated pension rights, sources said.

Though this shortfall is likely to discourage employees from taking up the voluntary exit offer, PPC’s chief executive Giorgos Stassis is determined to push ahead with the plan and invite interested parties to lodge their applications between September 1 and 30.

The PPC voluntary exit package offers employees a 20,000-euro bonus payment as an addition to severance pay worth 15,000 euros.

An initial voluntary exit effort already staged by PPC attracted 602 employees from the utility’s Meliti and Megalopoli lignite-fired power stations and a further 123 employees from related subsidiaries, producing annual savings of 48 million euro for the company.

PPC had set an objective to attract some 900 employees from the lignite-fired power stations to its initial voluntary exit plan.

Stassis, PPC’s boss, has promised to soon carry out a targeted recruitment plan for staff with specialized skills, according to Pantelis Karaleftheris, the workers’ representative on the PPC board.

 

First demand response auction in July, TFRM validity to get extra month

The energy ministry, anticipating the European Commission’s imminent approval of Greek government proposals for a demand response mechanism and a transitory flexibility remuneration mechanism (TFRM), has signed related ministerial decisions so that the mechanisms, vital tools for industrial energy costs, can be implemented immediately once Brussels has given the green light.

Official approval of the plans by the European Commission is expected within the next few days.

Power grid operator IPTO has been informed by the ministry so that it can prepare the first demand response auction, seen taking place within July. IPTO announced a registration procedure yesterday, setting a July 23 deadline for applicants.

The TFRM’s validity is expected to run for an additional month, compared to the initial term agreed to by Athens and Brussels, to make up for its delayed delivery.

Over the past few days, Greek authorities have needed to respond to numerous questions forwarded by Brussels officials, seeking explanations and clarification on both the demand response and flexibility mechanisms.

 

IPTO launches tender for Athens area substation upgrade

Power grid operator IPTO has announced a tender for the reconstruction and modernization of the 400-kV Koumoundourou substation serving the wider Athens area, a project budgeted at 46 million euros (57 million euros including VAT).

This facility was constructed in the 1970s, along with four other units, to transmit electricity to the wider Athens area.

The Koumoundourou substation upgrade, one of the projects included in the so-called Eastern Corridor, is expected to be completed in 2024. This corridor also includes the Megalopoli and Corinthos substations, both undergoing upgrades at present.

Interested parties face an August 10 deadline to submit their offers to IPTO, expecting turn-key, ready-to-use delivery.

PPC, heavyweight firm close to big-scale securitization deal

Power utility PPC is believed to be making sound progress in its negotiations with a financial world heavyweight for an agreement on a securitization package carrying unpaid receivables overdue by at least 90 days, making it a high-risk venture, energypress sources have informed.

A deal is believed to be imminent and could be presented to the PPC board next week, the sources noted, adding that an agreement will definitely be finalized within July.

These talks follow PPC’s recent agreement with JP Morgan for an initial, smaller-scale, lower-risk securitization package carrying unpaid receivables of up to 60 days.

PPC secured a cash injection of approximately 250 million euros through this agreement and an interest rate of 3.5 percent, regarded extremely favorable.

The higher risk entailed in the forthcoming securitization package is expected to lead to a considerably higher interest rate than the figure agreed to between PPC and JP Morgan.

Even so, the overall securitization procedure indicates that PPC’s credibility is gradually being restored as major players are showing greater faith in the utility’s ability to handle its unpaid receivables.

Both the previous securitization agreement and the one currently in the making are non-recourse agreements not requiring PPC to provide guarantees.

Debt collection services firm Qualco and legal firms hired by PPC will continue handling the collection effort.

PPC aims to receive approximately 300 million euros for the second securitization package.

Besides the absence of guarantees, the securitization agreements represent yet another source of funding for PPC that is not added to the company’s debt figure.

IPTO board changes following new board for IPTO Holding

Two board members at power grid operator IPTO, Giannis Kambouris and Dimosthenes Papastamopoulos, both choices of the previous Syriza government, are resigning, sources have informed.

Kambouris, also the deputy at IPTO Holding, formed following ownership unbundling at IPTO three years ago, resigned from the IPTO board yesterday.

Papastamopoulos, one of the closest associates of the main opposition Syriza party’s Panos Skourletis, who held the country’s energy portfolio, appears set to submit his resignation.

The replacements of Kambouris and Papastamopoulos could be announced tomorrow at an IPTO board meeting.

An entirely new five-member board for IPTO Holding is expected to be announced at an IPTO Holding annual general shareholders’ meeting scheduled for July 16.

The New Democracy government wants to make changes at IPTO and IPTO Holding for further alignment with its policies.

IPTO chief executive Manos Manousakis will definitely remain at his post, sources noted, adding that his deputy, Giannis Margaris, and board member Iasonas Rousopoulos will both probably also carry on for the time being at least.

Government moving to replace entire IPTO Holding board

The government intends to soon replace all five board members of listed IPTO Holding, its representative in power grid operator IPTO with a controlling 51 percent stake. IPTO was ownership unbundled three years ago.

The energy ministry is expected to propose, as replacements, five new officials on July 16, when IPTO Holding is scheduled to hold its annual general shareholders’ meeting, energypress sources have informed.

A shareholders’ decision on a new five-member IPTO Holding board is one of eight issues on the upcoming meeting’s agenda.

The term of the current board, comprising Iason Rousopoulos, the chief executive, Giannis Kabouris, its deputy, and board members Alexandros Nikolouzos, Konstantinos Karakatsanis and Evaggelos Darousos, expires on December 11 this year.

The existing board has asked shareholders to submit resumes of candidates they wish to propose for the new board no later than 48 hours prior to the July 16 meeting.

The IPTO Holding board change is not expected to impact – at least initially – work proceedings at power grid operator IPTO. Rousopoulos and Kabouris, IPTO Holdings’ chief and deputy, respectively, are also members of the IPTO power grid operator board.

DES ADMIE, the IPTO public holding company, holds a 25 percent share of IPTO and China’s SGCC the other 24 percent.

IPTO’s chief executive Manos Manousakis, who has the faith of the energy ministry and the Chinese shareholder, is expected to remain at his post, despite the changes at IPTO Holding, and orchestrate the sale of a further stake in IPTO. SGCC maintains priority rights in any prospective IPTO privatization procedure.

 

 

Consumer groups testing RAE price-comparison tool, ready for launch

Consumer groups are testing a price-comparison platform for electricity and gas supply that has been prepared by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, and is now ready for public use after much delay as a result of various difficulties, including technical issues.

The authority’s platform, Paratiritirio, or observatory, aiming to offer consumers easy access to supplier offers and other useful information, appears set for launch, according to Ekpoizo, one of the country’s main consumer groups.

RAE’s platform will offer price comparisons for electricity and gas supply packages concerning household and business categories.

Over the past two or so years, RAE and various consumer groups have received numerous complaints concerning billing information as presented by energy suppliers. Details in fine print have led to higher-than-expected energy supply charges, consumers have complained.

Cyprus wants unchanged cost agreement for link with Crete

Though a new application submitted by EuroAsia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests, to the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility for funding support concerning an electricity grid interconnection project to link the Greek and Cypriot systems has yet to be examined or reciprocated by the European Commission, Greece and Cyprus have already begun talks on how to divide the remainder of the project’s costs not covered by the CEF.

The Cypriot side, which took the initiative for these talks, appears determined to ensure that Greece will stick to its share of the cost under the terms agreed to when the project also included the Athens-Crete link as part of a wider plan to interconnect the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli systems.

EuroAsia Interconnector head the wider Greek-Cypriot-Israeli plan. Greek power grid operator IPTO withdrew the Athens-Crete segment and is now working on it as a national project. IPTO is aiming for swifter progress on this section, urgently needed to resolve Crete’s pressing energy sufficiency issues.

Cyprus’ Regulatory Authority for Energy, RAEK, has forwarded to its Greek counterpart RAE a text presenting its cost-related views. RAEK wants to ensure that a Cross Border Cost Allocation agreement signed by the two sides late in 2017 for the Greek-Cypriot link, running from Crete to Cyprus, remains valid, despite Greece’s withdrawal of the Athens-Crete section.

According to the CBCA agreement, Cyprus will take on 63 percent of the cost of the Crete-Cyprus link and Greece will be responsible for the other 37 percent, under the condition that 50 percent of the total cost will be covered by EU funds, through the CEF.

The Crete-Cyprus interconnection is budgeted at 1.5 billion euros, meaning Greece’s share will be approximately 280 million euros.

This amount will be incorporated into IPTO’s accounts and need to be recovered through network surcharges included in consumer electricity bills, seen as a delicate matter by the Greek government.

Greek authorities have yet to respond to RAEK’s initiative as they await news from the European Commission on the CEF request.

PPC, Copelouzos end idle joint venture, grounded for years by unions

Power utility PPC and the Copelouzos group have agreed to dissolve a joint venture, PPC Solar Solutions, formed eight years ago for development of retail outlets around Greece for electricity sales, energy services and domestic solar panel installations, but never able to get off the ground.

Fierce and adamant opposition by PPC union groups against the joint venture, formed in January, 2012 as an innovative move – for its time – stifled the business plan.

The Copelouzos group’s Damco held a 51 percent stake in this joint venture, PPC holding the other 49 percent.

In 2017, the power utility’s then-CEO, Manolis Panagiotakis made an effort to revive the idle business plan, but his initiative also sparked a heated response and resistance from PPC unions.

DEPA Commerce sale may change gas, electricity markets

Ongoing procedures in the sale of DEPA Commerce could serve as a catalyst for major changes in the retail gas and electricity markets, leaving fewer players in these markets.

Challenges of the new era, from electromobility to renewable energy, are expected to soon lead to the establishment of various energy-sector mergers and partnerships in Greece.

Talks between company officials for potential partnerships have proliferated since seven consortiums were confirmed as the qualifiers through to the second and final round in the sale of gas utility DEPA’s commercial division.

Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) chief executive Andreas Siamisiis, during a press conference yesterday, left open the prospect of an entry by an additional partner into the consortium formed by ELPE and Italy’s Edison. This consortium is among the sale’s seven qualifiers.

Such a development could even influence the line-up of electricity supplier Elpedison, a joint venture formed by ELPE and Edison for Greece’s retail market, Siamisiis admitted.

It is believed that fellow qualifiers Motor Oil and Greek power utility PPC, who also joined forces for the DEPA Commerce sale, are moving to expand their consortium for this sale.

Highlight the importance of the DEPA Commerce sale, and its potential to lead to sweeping changes, six major Greek energy companies are involved in the DEPA Commerce sale, a record level of interest for any local energy-market sale in recent years.

Besides the three aforementioned Greek players, Mytilineos, GEK-TERNA and Copelouzos are also vying for DEPA Commerce.

Electricity producers are the market’s biggest gas consumers, which entwines the interests of gas and electricity players.

PPC using extra 58-MW unit on Crete for safety despite weak tourism data

Power utility PPC plans, next week, to begin operating 58-MW capacity generators leased and to be installed at a company power station even though electricity demand on the island is expected to be far lower than usual this summer.

The island will still need this generation boost to meet local energy requirements despite the pandemic’s anticipated negative impact on tourism, authorities have estimated.

Crete’s energy sufficiency situation will not be resolved until the island’s grid interconnection with Athens is completed.

The generators, to be installed at PPC’s power station at Atherinolakkos, southeastern Crete, are scheduled to begin operating on July 1.

PPC has received a production permit for the generators between July 1 and August 31. Depending on the conditions, this license could be stretched to also cover September.

Under normal circumstances, electricity demand on Crete typically reaches 700 MW during the summer as a result of major tourism development on the island. Power outages, both short and long-lasting, are a common summer occurrence on Crete.

 

PPC mid-voltage market share tumbles to 30%, competition intense

Power utility PPC’s market share in the mid-voltage category, where competition has intensified, slid to 30.2 percent in May, well below its 53.72 percent share in January, making way for independent suppliers who have made significant gains since the beginning of the year.

Protergia, a member of the Mytilineos group, ranked second in the mid-voltage market, was the biggest gainer during the five-month period, increasing its mid-voltage market share to 20.02 percent in May, nearly double January’s 12.19 percent.

Heron follows with 13.74 percent, up from 9.24 percent in January. Elpedison is ranked fourth with 9.34 percent, from 6.72 percent in January. NRG is next, closely behind, with a 7.74 percent mid-voltage market share, from 5.16 percent at the beginning of the year.

No major market-share changes have been reported in the high and low-voltage categories.

Overall – high, mid and low-voltage categories – PPC captured 66.27 percent of the market in May, slightly below the previous month’s 67.25 percent.

Protergia is ranked second, overall, with a 7.31 percent share, up from 6.84 percent in April. Heron is in third place with 6.27 percent, gaining from the previous month’s 5.81 percent. Elpedison follows with 4.97 percent, down from 5.06 percent in April.

Eurelectric calls for supplier protection against consumer debt

Sector association Eurelectric, representing the common interests of the electricity industry at a European level, has delivered a list of proposals focused on protecting companies against the pandemic’s financial impact.

The association’s proposals include compensation for suppliers as well as their protection against excessive consumer debt resulting from the crisis.

The association recommends the establishment of state support programs to help consumers cover the costs of outstanding electricity bills.

Eurelectric also calls for a monitoring effort to identify possible energy shortages and lack of personnel at energy companies.

The association wants appropriate measures adopted to counter major financial impact anticipated by energy companies as a result of reduced electricity demand and prices. Government measures supporting energy-transition investment plans of companies have also been requested.

Other Eurelectric recommendations include the establishment of a long-term RES plan offering clarity and security for investors.

The association also points out the need for a mechanism designed to recover excessive debt related to the coronavirus crisis.

 

Suppliers seen loosely interpreting RAE clause adjustment request

Electricity suppliers, set to disclose adjustments to price-related clauses included in electricity bills, are expected to offer loose interpretations rather than strictly comply with  related guidelines offered by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

Suppliers, who were given a June 14 deadline to make clause adjustments as a means of simplifying electricity-bill cost analysis and offer comparisons for consumers, have been highly critical of the authority’s guidelines, describing them as an intrusion and restriction on pricing policy.

Some suppliers have even threatened to take legal action against RAE, but this is not possible as the authority’s initiative is a proposal not an order.

Even so, suppliers need to present revisions, based on their respective interpretations of the RAE guidelines that will somehow reflect the proposals. Otherwise, consumers who are aware of the authority’s guidelines could turn against suppliers and file official complaints.

Suppliers, through their interpretations, will, without a doubt, seek leeway that could enable their commercial departments to attract customers.

RAE has asked suppliers to adopt standardized price-related clauses.

Suppliers have reassured they will deliver adjustments in accordance with the RAE recommendations but do not believe the overall effort will improve the ability of consumers to compare competing offers.

RAE wants HEDNO incentives for combating electricity theft

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has proposed financial incentives for distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO as a means of clamping down on electricity theft.

The regulatory authority estimates the annual cost of electricity theft at 139 million euros, based on data concerning 2018, or 4.1 percent of the grid electricity inflow total.

According to the data, electricity thefts are stealing electricity amounts of approximately 1.7 TWh per year, whose resulting cost is burdening consumers.

Adoption of the RAE proposal through its incorporation into a new regulatory framework would offer the operator greater incentive to counter electricity theft, the authority believes.

RAE forwarded its proposal as part of current consultation on a new formula for DEDDIE/HEDNO’s revenues between 2021 and 2024.

Power utility PPC’s administration has requested a new regulatory framework for the distribution operator, a PPC-owned subsidiary, ahead of its privatization to offer investors a 49 percent stake.

A new regulatory framework, seen as promising security for investors, would complete DEDDIE/HEDNO’s business plan for 2020-2028.

 

PPC, seeking key electric car market role, to announce MoUs

Power utility PPC is expected to soon announce two MoUs signed with private-sector companies for collaboration in the nascent electric vehicles market, a domain the utility is looking to dominate in the years ahead.

The power utility’s MoUs, believed to have been signed with Greek companies, concern recharging station installations and a range of electric vehicle services, as foreseen in a PPC business plan presented last December.

According to the plan, PPC intends to install 1,000 recharging stations around Greece over the next two to three years as well as a further 10,000 stations in the medium term.

The company is now assembling a new electric vehicles division in the lead-up to its latest business endeavor.

PPC’s wider plan could even entail collaboration with a specialized partner for production of electric vehicle parts at new plants in west Macedonia and Megalopoli, both lignite-dependent local economies in the country’s north and the Peloponnese, respectively, now being decarbonized.

A related draft bill being prepared by the government will feature incentives for the establishment of new production units at these locations.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is scheduled to present the government’s ambitious plan for electric vehicle market growth this Friday. The development of a recharging network is crucial for this plan.

Electric vehicles market growth plan includes €5,000 subsidies

A draft bill promoting electric vehicle market growth is close to being finalized for consultation following preparations and processing by related ministries over the past six months.

The plan’s details include 5,000-euro subsidies for electric car purchases as well as financial support, as a percentage of the buying price, for electric bicycle and scooter purchases, according to sources.

More crucially, besides subsidies, the government plan also includes a strategy for this technology’s increased share of the auto market.

Tax incentives as well as other motives, including free-parking rights for electric vehicles, are also believed to be included in the package of measures.

Support for increased usage of electric vehicles was a key item on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ pre-election agenda and has since developed into a priority in the government’s new green energy plan.

The plan will be forwarded for consultation next month, energy minister Costis Hatzidakis has announced.

Electric vehicle market growth also represents an important part of the new National Energy and Climate Plan.

The NECP includes a target for one in every three vehicles to be electric by 2030. If achieved, this target would introduce a total of 350,000 electric vehicles to Greek roads within the next decade and subsequently increase electricity consumption by 4 percent.

DEDDIE regulatory framework a prelude for new business plan

Distribution network operator DEDDIE’s new regulatory framework, featuring incentives for an achievement of goals designed to benefit the energy market and consumers, will be forwarded for consultation within the next few days by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The framework’s endorsement is seen as a prelude to the finalization of the operator’s new business plan, envisioning a major increase in investments and the recruitment of some 1,000 employees.

DEDDIE’s existing regulatory framework is designed to cover the operator’s costs through a cost-plus system, whereas the new proposal, a performance-based system, features incentives for improved performance.

The new framework will aim to create more favorable investment conditions, provide incentives promoting project upgrades and innovation for significant improvements to services, distribution network reliability and electricity quality, as well as a reduction of consumer costs.

Once endorsed, the framework will be valid for four years and also determine how the operator’s revenues will be calculated for a further four years.

Elefsis Shipyards, owing over €5m to PPC, faces power cut

Power utility PPC, taking supply-cut action against major debtors, appears set to add Elefsis Shipyards, owing the utility over 5 million euros in overdue power bills, to its hit list.

Over the past few years, Elefsis Shipyards has registered for a number of installment-based payback programs offered by PPC but repeatedly failed to meet deadlines. Its debt owed to PPC has continuously increased.

PPC is believed to be moving to forward an electricity-cut order to distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, against Elefsis Shipyards, within the next few days.

An Elefsis Shipyards restructuring plan envisioned by strategic investor Onex has run into a dead end. The inability of current shareholder Nikos Tavoularis and the investor to agree on a number of issues is a key reason behind the impasse.

Just weeks ago, the government intervened to secure a three-month extension for a recently expired contract between the shipyard and the Hellenic Navy.

This government initiative promises temporary financial relief for Elefsis Shipyards following the main shareholder’s failure to offer consent for the shipyard’s restructuring plan before March 31, which led to the contract’s expiration.

The Hellenic Navy contract extension will enable the shipyard to cover 70 percent of salaries to its 600 or so employees on the payroll during the current quarter but solutions for various creditors, including PPC, have yet to be found.

Wholesale prices slide, demand subdued, LNG abundant

Extremely low wholesale electricity prices are being registered at the energy exchange as a result of lower demand and an incentive for producers to place their units on the Day Ahead Schedule because of an oversupply of low-cost LNG they have needed to use by specific dates.

On May 1, the System Marginal Price, or wholesale electricity price, fell to 14.2 euros per MWh while overall demand was limited to 91.5 GWh.

On the same day, RES units and hydropower facilities covered 43 percent of demand, electricity imports covered 27 percent, and gas-fired units 25.8 percent.

SMP levels were also low in the lead-up to May 1. On April 23, the SMP was 29.5 euros per MWh with demand at 103.5 GWh. On April 25, the SMP slid to 26.5 euros per MWh and demand dropped to 101.5 GWh. On April 30, the SMP rose to 32.1 euros per MWh and demand reached 104.8 GWh.

Yesterday, the SMP was at 31.7 euros per MWh and demand registered at 109 GWh.

The SMP level for today has been forecast to drop to 29.3 euros per MWh with demand unchanged at 109 GWh.

‘Firm steps for privatizations but pandemic’s impact considered’

Decisive steps are being taken for Greece’s energy-sector privatizations, representing two thirds of the country’s overall privatization program, but the pandemic’s impact on international markets will not be neglected, energy minister Costis Hatzidakis has pointed out in an interview with Greek daily To Ethnos.

There is no need to rush a plan to reduce the Greek State’s stake in Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) as this sale is not one of restructuring character, the minister noted.

A government decision to sell stakes in DEPA Infrastructure and DEPA Trade, two new entities emerging from a split at gas utility DEPA, is moving ahead as planned, Hatzidakis informed.

First steps have been taken to reduce, below 51 percent, the Greek State’s share in power grid operator IPTO, “but this does not mean we will proceed tomorrow morning,” he said.

State-controlled power utility PPC is preparing terms of an international tender for the sale of at least 49 percent of distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, a subsidiary, the minister said. This procedure is scheduled to commence in the third quarter of this year, he added.

Key power line upgrade in west delayed by church resistance

One of power grid operator IPTO’s most important upgrade projects, a 400-KV power line serving as a western corridor for electricity transmission to and from the Peloponnese, still remains unfinished despite being scheduled for delivery and electrification in February.

Resistance by a major monastery located close to the route of the project, budgeted at 105 million euros, has prevented its completion.

Two to three pylons still need to be installed for the project, linking Megalopoli, central Peloponnese, with Patras, and from there, Etoloakarnania, further northwest, via a Rio-Antirio water crossing.

Church officials representing the Mega Spilaio monastery, close to Kalavryta, slightly east of Patras, have strongly objected the installation of these pylons. Meetings by energy authorities with church officials have so far failed to break this resistance.

Completion of the project would enable power utility PPC’s Megalopoli V gas-fueled power station to operate at full capacity. At present, the 800-MW facility is underperforming at a capacity level of 500 MW.

Besides impacting PPC’s finances and preventing the utility from capitalizing on lower fuel costs, this project delay is also hindering PPC’s withdrawal plan for its Amynteo lignite-fired power station in northern Greece.

Once completed, the project would also enable further RES development in the wider region.