Local gas-fueled generation up in response to high-cost power imports

Higher electricity prices in neighboring countries, increasing the cost of electricity imports, have prompted power utility PPC to capitalize on the situation and operate its gas-fueled power stations at maximum capacity for satisfactory market prices.

In recent days, PPC’s natural gas-fueled units have covered between 35 and 40 percent of electricity demand.

Yesterday, the power utility’s gas-fueled power stations covered 40 percent of electricity demand at a price of 42.6 euros per MWh for ten hours.

Independent producers covered 19 percent of electricity demand at a price of 64.4 euros per MWh for one hour.

Electricity imports covered 14 percent of electricity demand for a price of 51.7 euros per MWh over 11 hours.

Renewable energy sources covered 24 percent of electricity demand yesterday, while the decreased lignite input continued on its downward trajectory, contributing 3.6 GWh.

In Bulgaria, the wholesale electricity price was 53.14 euros per MWh. In Italy, it was 51.93 euros per MWh. Romania registered a price level of 51.7 euros per MWh. The price in Serbia was 49.91 euros per MWh.

Gas-fired, RES generation high in July, gas-based output boost at PPC

Electricity demand fell by 2 percent in July compared to the equivalent month a year earlier, while gas-fired and RES generation remained high, according to a latest energy exchange report.

Demand in July peaked at 9,033 MW, on July 31 at 2pm, while the month’s lowest level of electricity demand was 4,290 MW, recorded on July 12 at 7am, the report informed.

Domestic electricity demand represented 97.27 percent of the month’s total demand while exports represented 2.72 percent, according to the data.

Natural gas-fueled generation covered 41.21 percent of electricity demand in July, RES production covered 26.05 percent, electricity imports covered 20.01 percent, hydropower output contributed with 6.76 percent and lignite-fired generation followed with 5.97 percent.

Production by natural gas-fueled power stations in July was up 8 percent compared to the same month a year earlier, the data showed. Electricity imports were down 10 percent this July and exports rose by 14 percent.

Lignite-fired generation dropped considerably, by 64 percent, hydropower output registered a milder reduction of 4 percent, while RES output increased significantly by 49 percent.

As had been anticipated, a rise in production at PPC’s Megalopoli V unit increased the corporation’s overall gas-fired production in July, both compared to June and preceding months.

PPC’s gas-fired electricity production reached 942,613 MWh in July compared to 512,292 MWh in June.

 

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.

 

 

Grid passes summer’s first test, demand at 7,600 MW today

The country’s grid is set to face increased pressure as temperatures rise throughout the country and are forecast to reach as high as 39 degrees Celsius today. Electricity demand is expected to rise to 7,600 MW.

The country’s grid coped well during yesterday’s first major test for the summer. Electricity demand reached 7,300 MW amid temperatures marginally lower than the levels forecast for today.

The power utility PPC was forced to use its hydropower facilities. Water deposit levels have been extremely low this year. Further usage of the hydropower facilities will be needed today but PPC is expected to act cautiously as it awaits tougher days ahead.

PPC anticipates it may need to use 50 to 60 percent of its 3,171-MW total hydropower capacity in July.

The heat-related rise in electricity demand has coincided with increased wholesale electricity prices over the past week. They rose sharply from 28.62 euros per MWh on June 28 to 44.52 euros per MWh on Tuesday and 45.01 euros per MWh yesterday.

This first summer test for the grid has once again highlighted the extremely high costs entailed in operating lignite-fired power stations. Their generation costs are now between 90 and 100 euros per MWh.

During this heatwave, PPC, currently moving to withdraw most of its lignite units over the next three years, has opted to minimize its reliance on lignite, preferring instead to cover its generation needs through its natural gas units and hydropower stations.

 

 

 

Electricity demand down 12.6% in April, industrial use slumps 23.6%

Electricity demand slumped 12.6 percent in April compared to the same month a year earlier, the biggest drop registered by high-voltage industrial consumers, forced to suspend or restrict output during the lockdown, power grid operator IPTO’s monthly report has shown.

Industrial electricity consumption in April fell sharply by 23.6 percent, the IPTO report showed.

The drop in electricity consumption linked to mining activity was even sharper, falling 55.5 percent in April. Besides the lockdown, this drop was also attributed to significant operational restrictions implemented at power utility PPC’s lignite-fired power plants.

Electricity generation in April fell by 3.2 percent, to 2,893 GWh compared to 2,990 during the same month a year earlier, according to the data.

This reduction was mild compared to major shifts observed in sources of generation. Lignite-based generation fell by 62.7 percent year-on-year, confirming, most emphatically, the commencement of PPC’s decarbonization effort.

High costs for lignite-based generation severely reduced the operational time of PPC’s lignite-fired power plants, limiting lignite’s share of the electricity production mix to just 10 percent in April.

On the contrary, the production share of interconnected RES facilities, benefiting from favorable conditions, rose sharply by 33.9 percent, year-on-year, to capture a market-leading 36 percent share of overall electricity generation in April.

Natural gas-fired power plants followed with a 30 percent share following an 11 percent year-on-year rise in output.

Electricity imports (grid interconnections) contributed 18 percent, while hydropower facilities increased their output by 19.8 percent to capture a 6 percent share in April.

PPC provided 951 GWh, or 56.6 percent of the production, while independent producers covered 43.4 percent.

Among the independent producers, Mytilineos led the way with 228.1 GWh, followed by Elpedison (210.4 GWh), Korinthos Power (154.1 GWh) and Heron II (136.3 GWh).

The IPTO data on generation highlights an increasing shift towards cleaner energy sources.

 

 

Wholesale electricity prices rising, up to €47.30/MWh today

Wholesale electricity prices, determined by the System Marginal Price, are rebounding following a significant drop over the past few weeks.

The rise is being fueled by an anticipated increase in demand. A sidelined 600-MW line linking Greece with Bulgaria, depriving the system of electricity imports via this route, as well as a disruption in operations at an Elpedison power plant in Thessaloniki are two other contributing factors.

In addition, the Revythoussa LNG terminal just off Athens is not under any pressure, a factor subduing gas-fired unit bids and subsequently lowering the SMP.

Based on grid orders placed for today, the SMP has climbed to 47.30 euros per MWh, up from a level of around 30 euros per MWh five days earlier and 14.20 euros per MWh on May 1. Bidding by units has gradually risen since early May.

Demand, today, for domestic consumption and exports is estimated to reach 127 GWh, 40 percent of which is planned to be covered by natural gas-fired power stations, 30 percent by RES and hydropower plants, 23 percent by electricity imports, and 7 percent by lignite-fired power stations.

The SMP level will be determined by gas-fired power stations for 22 hours today, lignite-based generation will shape the price for one hour and imports for the remaining hour.

Supplier electricity-bill collections better than expected so far this month

Electricity bill payments have so far been better than expected in May and are on the rise following shock results recorded in previous months, during the full-scale lockdown.

Worst-case supplier revenue scenarios for the month have so far been avoided, but it is still too early to tell as the majority of consumer payments are due at the end of the month.

For the time being, rebounding electricity bill collection records are gradually approaching pre-crisis levels. Electricity bill payments are generally down by about 10 percent at present, compared to a 30 percent slump amid the heart of the lockdown.

Power utility PPC is already improving on its electricity-bill revenue decline of 9 percent in April following a major slump of between 25 to 30 percent in the second half of March.

Electricity bill collection figures at independent electricity suppliers are also moving upwards and are presently about 10 percent below pre-crisis levels, energypress sources informed.

Suppliers with high exposure to business and professional clienteles have been hit especially hard as these consumer groups were grounded during the full-scale lockdown in March and April.

Revenue losses have been milder for suppliers focused more on household consumers. Their revenue losses are in single-digit territory.

The full extent of the pandemic’s damage on electricity supplier revenues will become clearer once the economy is fully relaunched and the government’s support measures reach an end.

An anticipated unemployment spike over the next few months will negatively impact electricity-bill collection records.

Also, a subdued summer for the country’s pivotal tourism industry will hurt electricity supplier revenues, traditionally boosted during the second half of the year as a result of heightened tourism-related business.

Suppliers may end up needing to resort to emergency cash support through low-interest bank loans, support mechanisms and other financial tools if it turns out to be a bleak summer, as is feared.

 

 

Mid-voltage battle toughens, reflecting lower wholesale cost

Competition between electricity suppliers has intensified in the mid-voltage category, where lower prices currently reflect a sharp drop in the cost of wholesale electricity and, subsequently, wider profit margins available to suppliers.

Competition has yet to intensify in the household and business markets despite discount packages offered by most electricity suppliers, including the power utility PPC, from the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.

This lack of competition has been attributed to a cautious stance adopted by independent suppliers as they wait to see how much profit margin leeway will be shed by a drop in electricity demand and electricity bill payment delays.

It is a different picture in the mid-voltage category, where suppliers are bombarding both existing and prospective customers with price offers.

Suppliers are spreading the risk of wholesale price fluctuations by diversifying their price offers. They are keeping a close watch on the System Marginal Price, determining wholesale prices.

The course of the SMP in coming days remains unclear. Signs of a possible rebound in wholesale electricity prices have emerged as the SMP is now clearly higher than levels registered last week.

Wholesale electricity prices have mainly fallen as a result of increased contributions to the grid by natural gas-fueled power stations, supplied low-cost LNG, as well as RES units.

 

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.

Independent supplier revenues plunge, tariff cuts not possible

Independent electricity suppliers, pressured by lower revenue figures and increased bad-debt risk as consumers, mainly businesses, struggle to pay their bills, have not been able to offer tariff reductions in response to the dramatic drop in the cost of electricity production brought about by lower natural gas prices.

The System Marginal Price, reflecting, to a certain degree, the cost of electricity, averaged 28 euros per MWh in April, down from 62.4 euros a year earlier.

This sharp drop has been attributed to the increased grid participation of natural gas-fired power stations, using low-cost LNG, as well as renewable energy units.

On the downside for independent suppliers, electricity demand fell by 14 percent in April, further aggravating their cash flow predicament.

Electricity bill payments have dropped considerably amid the lockdown, falling by as much as 50 percent in April, suppliers have informed.

Power utility PPC, which has traditionally battled bad-debt problems, is the least affected, its electricity bill collections falling by approximately 25 percent. This has been attributed to the company’s client base, comprised mostly of households and high-voltage consumers.

On the contrary, independent suppliers, suffering far sharper revenue drops, serve many small and mid-size businesses, badly affected by the lockdown.

Households have consumed greater amounts of electricity during the lockdown and generally serviced their bills.

It is feared some 100,000 enterprises may go out of business in the next few weeks. This would be a major setback for independent electricity suppliers.

 

Lockdown prompts electricity demand slump of 14% in April

Electricity demand slumped by an unprecedented 14 percent in April, driven down by lockdown measures that have restricted movement and forced hundreds of thousands of businesses to suspend their operations, figures provided by power grid operator IPTO have shown, according to energypress sources.

The IPTO data strictly concerns demand through the grid, not electricity amounts declared by companies at the Greek energy exchange, the sources noted.

In March, electricity demand was down by 1.8 percent compared to the equivalent month a year earlier.

The demand drop in the high-voltage category for industrial consumers was 23 percent, nearly double the overall decline. Major manufacturers opted to disrupt their operations to limit losses prompted by lower market demand.

April’s 14 percent drop in electricity demand is the biggest on record. A bigger fall of 18 percent was recorded in July, 2013, but this data includes network figures, which, if factored in, limit the drop to 12 percent.

Electricity demand is expected to remain subdued in the coming months as enterprises will need some time before rebounding to normal business levels.

Industrial slowdown seen impacting electricity demand

Electricity consumption level forecasts are bleak as the coronavirus pandemic is now also impacting the country’s energy-intensive industrial sector after devastating the economy’s tourism and retail sectors.

The widening problem will inevitably affect overall demand and the financial results of retail electricity suppliers.

A number of industrial enterprises have suspended their operations. These include steel company Sidenor, which has put a halt on production at five units, as well as four textile firms.

More industrial companies are likely to follow suit as the ongoing lockdown keeps much economic activity grounded. As a result, overall electricity demand is expected to drop considerably over the next few months.

The pandemic’s impact on low-voltage electricity demand has, for the time being, remained subdued. Considerably lower consumption levels in the retail and trade sectors have been offset by higher household demand driven by the government’s stay-at-home orders.

Low-voltage electricity demand in March fell by a level of between one and two percent, according to power grid operator IPTO sources. A sharper decline of approximately five percent is expected in April.

However, sharper drops over the next few months cannot be ruled out, as has been the case in other parts of Europe.

In recent weeks, electricity demand in Italy was down by 20 percent. Belgium recorded a drop of 17 percent, French electricity demand fell by 12 percent and Spain’s drop registered at 10 percent.

 

 

Electricity suppliers financially pressured by coronavirus crisis

Electricity suppliers are feeling the financial effects of the coronavirus crisis, threatening to increase the level of electricity bill arrears amid reduced consumption and lower sales.

Consumers are now contacting suppliers to request installment-based payment arrangements, or, worse still, expressing an inability to meet electricity bill payments, energypress has been informed.

Retailers and small businesses whose operations are being stifled by the coronavirus lockdown are particularly feeling the pressure.

Electricity suppliers maintaining a dominant mid-voltage customer base are very concerned as the coronavirus spread has already begun inflicting financial damage on sectors such as tourism, hotels and restaurants, all expected to be particularly affected by the ongoing crisis.

Retailers, too – except for supermarket chains, registering rising sales figures – are also under severe pressure. Their position will deteriorate further as a result of a government decision temporarily shutting down most shops as of today.

Electricity suppliers are more or less helpless at present. Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO would not execute any electricity-cut orders amid these extraordinary conditions.

Subsequently, suppliers are calling for a delay of their payments to operators such as power grid operator IPTO, DEDDIE, and RES market operator DAPEEP for network usage fees, a RES-supporting ETMEAR surcharge and other such obligations.

 

Bigger power shortage forecast for Crete demands extra action

Having just determined a bigger-than-expected electricity shortage on Crete for this coming summer, DEDDIE/HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, has informed the main power utility PPC to bolster its plan for additional mobile electricity production units on the island.

The operator has increased its projected summer shortage for Crete to 90 MW from the previous forecast of 50 MW.

PPC licensing procedures concerning the transfer of mobile electricity production units to Crete are already in progress, based on the original power shortage forecast. These mobile units, including 18 company-owned units currently stationed on Rhodes and totaling 23 MW, possess a total production capacity of 61 MW.

More units will now need to be brought into action to cover the 90-MW shortage forecast for Crete. RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has urged PPC to act fast. Crete’s electricity needs will begin escalating to high levels in July.

PPC has already made clear it will need to be assured of reimbursements before it can make any additional capacity-boosting moves for Crete. It is awaiting officials documents from RAE recognizing the cost entailed.

Once the Cretan capacity issues for this summer have been resolved, RAE will need to think about the summer of 2020 as a small-scale grid interconnection linking the island with the Peloponnese will not have been completed. Solutions for the summers of 2021 and 2022, the intermediate period between Crete’s small-scale interconnection and the big link to Athens, also need to be found.

Solutions minimizing cost and environmental impact are the top priority for authorities.

Domestic electricity consumption down again in 2018

Domestic electricity consumption has continued its slide of recent years, falling by 1.2 percent in 2018, to 57,122 GWh from 57,845 GWh in 2017, a reflection of the ongoing struggles of households and businesses, market data released by the main power utility PPC has shown.

Overall electricity demand in Greece rose by 2.2 percent in 2018 as a result of a 75.2 percent increase in electricity exports to other European markets through northern interconnections.

The increased electricity exports were primarily attributed to exports of some of the electricity amounts acquired at local NOME auctions. This gateway to other markets has been significantly narrowed as a result of restrictions imposed by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

Electricity imports in 2018 also rose, increasing by 23.6 percent, or 2,143 GWh. PPC imported 506 GWh of this amount.

As for retail electricity market shares, PPC’s share fell from 86.7 percent in 2017 to 81.9 percent in 2018. Independent suppliers made their greatest gains in the low-voltage category.

Electricity demand to rise at average rate of 1.2%, IPTO study forecasts

Overall electricity demand in Greece is expected to rebound to record levels reached in 2008, when the ongoing recession began taking affect, around 2022, a ten-year study covering 2019 to 2028 published by IPTO, the power grid operator, has indicated.

Electricity demand is seen rising at an average rate of 1.21 percent over the next decade, the study showed, which is much lower than the 2.17 percent average growth rate registered between 2000 and 2010. Growth rates in previous decades were far higher.

In 2008, the beginning of the ongoing Greek recession, electricity demand totalled 56.3 TWh, a record high and 1.11 percent increase compared to the previous year.

In 2009, electricity demand dropped by a considerable 5.01 percent compared to 2008, which was primarily attributed to a 20.19 percent drop in demand by the industrial sector.

Since 2010, electricity demand has fallen moderately each year except for 2015, when demand increased by 2.2 percent compared to the previous year.

In 2016, total electricity demand reached 51,212 GWh, 9 percent lower than the figure registered in 2008 and 0.28 percent lower compared to the total in 2015.

Data accumulated so far for 2017 indicates a 2.4 percent increase in electricity demand during the year’s ten-month period compared to the equivalent period in 2015.