Independent suppliers are set to offer discounts and tariff reductions to consumers, their effort focusing on consumption levels ranging between 300 and 600 kWh, not covered by state subsidies, according to latest updates.
Independent suppliers are awaiting the outcome of a meeting today involving energy minister Kostas Skrekas, during which state-controlled power utility PPC’s discount strategy will be clarified, before they take specific decisions, including for the consumption category of up to 300 kWh, applying to the majority of households.
Besides an across-the-board discount of 30 percent for all consumers, including the category up to 300 kWh, PPC has also promised an additional discount of between 3 and 4 percent for the 301-600 kWh category.
It still remains unclear how much the price gap between PPC and independent consumers offering lower tariff prices could be narrowed by this move.
Independent suppliers know well that they will need to keep offering lower tariffs than PPC, the dominant player, to remain competitive.
The government plans to adopt an Energy Transition Fund to offer electricity subsidies to households and small and medium-sized enterprises, heating fuel subsidies, and a range of other initiatives as a tool to contain the surge in wholesale energy costs, prompted by a combination of factors in international markets.
The country’s independent electricity suppliers have deemed as necessary government support measures just announced to help combat rising wholesale, and by extension retail, electricity prices pushed up by a combination of unfavorable factors in international markets, but, even so, feel betrayed by the manner in which these measures were presented, perceived as an indirect boost for the state-run power utility PPC.
Officials at independent electricity supply companies, in comments to energypress, pointed out that PPC was incorporated into the government’s announcement for support measures, creating an impression that the dominant player’s pricing policy is a part of the government measures for lower-cost electricity. In other words, PPC was made to look as if it is providing social policy on behalf of the government, the independent supply company officials protested.
This ultimately sends out a message promising consumers protection and lower-cost electricity at PPC, marring the image of independent players as relentless, profit-seeking enterprises, the representatives complained.
Such initiatives threaten to confuse consumers and stifle market competition, the representatives added.
Taking into account the rising energy costs and potential repercussions on society, the government is seeking to make revisions that would make more households eligible for subsidized electricity through the Social Residential Tariff (KOT) program.
The administration is looking to loosen KOT-related income and property criteria for the entry of several hundred thousand more households to the program.
The government also aims to increase the KOT subsidy program’s discount rates for electricity, currently ranging between 45 and 60 percent, depending on income levels, property assets and electricity consumption levels.
Under the current criteria, 450,000 households are eligible for electricity subsidies through the KOT program.
Additional funds are believed to be available to make the subsidies available to a greater number of households, but the finances may not suffice to cover the full extent of the expansion sought by the government.
Electricity suppliers, facing steep and lasting wholesale electricity cost increases, which have resulted in cash-flow issues, are seeking revisions that could alleviate the pressure, in recommendations submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.
Rising wholesale electricity costs have created major cash flow problems for non-vertically integrated electricity suppliers as they are being forced to pay increasing amounts for electricity and related guarantees ahead of payments, to them, by consumers.
Consumers have also felt the pinch as suppliers, seeking protection against the rising wholesale prices, have activated wholesale cost-related clauses incorporated into their supply agreements.
Solutions for both sides seem elusive at present as market forecasts do not see any price de-escalation ahead, only further increases.
In one of the recommendations forwarded to RAE, suppliers called for their cash collateral payments made to the Hellenic Energy Exchange, as a form of guarantee, to be replaced by letters of guarantee representing equivalent amounts.
Suppliers have also requested a reexamination of the clearing price and payment formula in the day-ahead and intraday markets.
They also requested extensions for surcharge payments to power grid operator IPTO and the distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO.