DEDDIE’s WACC close to 7%, RAE framework approval soon

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO’s new WACC level, determining the yield, required by potential buyers, will be set at just below 7 percent for a four-year period covering 2021 to 2024, energypress sources have informed.

This WACC level, well over rates of no more than 2.5 percent offered by respective European operators, is expected to be seen as a very attractive offer by investors.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has been given the green light by the energy ministry to hasten proceedings for a launch of the DEDDIE/HEDNO privatization, offering a 49 percent stake, in November, as promised by the ministry.

DEDDIE/HEDNO has awaited RAE’s approval of its new regulatory framework, including the WACC level, to launch the tender. This framework will include an option for a four-year extension, covering 2025 to 2028.

If the privatization is launched next month, it could be completed within the first quarter of 2021.

Market officials have forecast a DEDDIE/HEDNO selling price of close to 1.5 billion euros for the 49 percent stake.

The operator’s assets, essentially comprising networks totaling 239,000 kilometers in length, plus substations, are estimated to be worth 3.5 billion euros.

The DEDDIE/HEDNO business plan for 2021 to 2024, still subject to official approval, should excite investors. It features investments worth 2 billion euros and network 5G add-on potential for a wide range of telephony and internet services.

The prospective installation of 7.5 million digital power meters in place of conventional meters around the country, an upgrade budgeted at 850 million euros, is another strong selling point. Recovery funds will be sought for this project, energy minister Costis Hatzidakis recently informed. This would save the operator a considerable amount.

Germany’s EON, Italy’s Enel, Enedis, a subsidiary of France’s EDF, as well as a number of Chinese companies had showed interest, unofficially, in the DEDDIE/HEDNO sale well before the pandemic broke out.

 

 

Hydrocarbon framework helping shape offshore wind farm rules

The energy ministry is utilizing the existing legal framework for offshore hydrocarbon licensing as a guide for the establishment of a respective set of rules for offshore wind farms, energypress sources have informed.

The energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou is heading a team assembled for this task, to include carving out offshore blocks in the Aegean and Ionian Seas that are deemed appropriate for offshore wind farm development.

Once defined, these blocks, which must neither trespass Natura environmental protection areas nor interfere with shipping and fishing zones, will be offered to investors through tenders.

An open-door procedure, or staging of tenders following official expressions of interest by investors for specific areas, as is the case with the hydrocarbon sector, may also be adopted for offshore wind farms.

The team led by Sdoukou is also examining equivalent legal frameworks used by other European countries.

Offshore block positioning and licensing; interconnections with the grid; and the remuneration formula for investments are three key aspects to be covered by the offshore farm sector regulations, Sdoukou recently told an ELETAEN (Greek Wind Energy Association) conference.

A related draft bill is expected to be ready towards the end of the year.

Floating wind turbine installations are most suitable for Greece as a result of the country’s deep waters and lack of obstacles for the development of this type of technology in international waters, studies have shown.

 

DEPA Comm VDR open; 5-year stay for Infrastructure buyer

The video data room for the privatization procedure of DEPA Commercial, one of two new gas utility DEPA entities placed for sale, is now open to prospective bidders, but initial information made available is limited to non-financial details.

Financial details on DEPA Commercial will be made available as a second step to all consultants representing the potential buyers, while a third and final stage will follow to conditionally offer bidders confidential information in person at the DEPA headquarters.

As previously reported, the second-round, binding-bids deadline for the DEPA Commercial sale, offering investors a 65 percent stake, has been extended to March, 2021.

The field of second-round qualifiers is comprised of two partnerships, Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) with Edison and power utility PPC with Motor Oil Hellas, plus Mytilineos, TERNA, the Copelouzos group, Shell, and the Swiss-based MET Group.

As for DEPA Infrastructure, the other new DEPA entity up for sale, energy minister Costis Hatzidakis is preparing a legislative revision that will require the winning bidder to retain its company shares for a period of at least five years.

This condition will also apply for the DEPA Infrastructure subsidiaries EDA Attiki, EDA Thess and DEDA, the gas distributors covering the wider Athens area, Thessaloniki-Thessaly and rest of Greece, respectively. DEPA fully owns DEDA and EDA Attiki and holds a 51 percent stake in EDA Thess.

The DEPA Infrastructure binding-bids deadline has also been extended to the end of February, 2021. Italgas, EPH, First State Investments, KKR, Macquarie and Sino-CEEF have qualified for the final round.

 

RAE issues undermining DEPA Infrastructure privatization

Delays, instability and flawed intervention by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, on important operating issues concerning gas utility DEPA’s subsidiaries EDA Attiki, EDA Thess and DEDA – the three distributors covering the wider Athens area, Thessaloniki-Thessaly and rest of Greece, respectively – are undermining the privatization procedure for DEPA Infrastructure, a new DEPA entity placed for sale, DEPA Infrastructure has warned in a letter to the authority.

In the letter, also forwarded to privatization fund TAIPED and the energy ministry, DEPA Infrastructure complains of a RAE delay in endorsing EDA tariffs for 2019 to 2022, which has consequently placed the gas company’s development plan in turmoil.

Besides not having reached a decision on gas distribution pricing policy, the authority has changed the WACC level three times since last year, including recently, which has negatively impacted the yields of DEPA subsidiary investments, sources noted.

Also, RAE regards initiatives taken by the three gas distributors to attract more consumers to the natural gas market as a form of state aid, DEPA Infrastructure protests in the letter, referring to distribution network connection fee discounts offered by the distributors, as well as subsidy support for natural gas system installations.

Any moves to curb these initiatives promoting gas usage would derail the natural gas sector’s energy-mix penetration target for 2030, as specified in the National Energy and Climate Plan, DEPA Infrastructure contends.

These unfavorable conditions threaten to delay the DEPA Infrastructure privatization, company sources stressed.

The sale procedure’s video data room is still lacking vital information for prospective bidders, who could begin seeing the DEPA Infrastructure privatization as a high-risk investment, the sources noted, adding that WACC level reductions will ultimately reduce the market value of DEPA Infrastructure and the subsidiaries.

Energy ministry seeks recovery fund support for many domains

The energy ministry, seeking to ensure EU recovery-fund support for mature projects in key energy-related domains, has proposed their inclusion in a national plan whose first draft will be submitted by the government to the European Commission this month.

Greece is entitled to approximately 32 billion euros from the EU recovery fund, worth a total of 750 billion euros (390bn in subsidies and 360bn in loans) and established to counter the impact of the global pandemic.

Approximately 37 percent of the recovery funds will be used for green-energy development.

Energy efficiency upgrades of buildings; grid interconnections and RES initiatives, including energy storage; electromobility; nature protection; decarbonization; spatial planning for RES development; solid and liquid waste management; and smart power meter installations, a severely delayed project in Greece, are among the domains the energy ministry wants included in the national plan for EU recovery funds.

The energy ministry has previously sought support for some of these domains through the National Strategic Reference Framework.

A total of 130,000 efficiency upgrades of buildings have so far received subsidy support over a decade-long period through Greece’s Saving at Home program. The ministry is looking to significantly increase this rate to 60,000 upgrades per year through the recovery funds program.

Greece’s energy ministry will also seek recovery fund support for two major electricity interconnections – Crete’s major-scale interconnection,  to link the island’s grid with Athens; and the fourth phase of the Cyclades interconnection – both being developed by power grid operator IPTO.

 

Ministry examining industrial energy cost-cutting measures

The energy ministry is examining a series of energy cost-cutting measures for the industrial sector, including reductions to system usage surcharges and the special consumption tax for the mid-voltage category, plus discounts for major-scale energy consumers making energy-efficiency investments.

The subject of lower energy costs for the industrial sector will feature at a meeting today between energy minister Costis Hatzidakis and energy-intensive industry representatives.

Speaking at an Economist conference just days ago, Hatzidakis expressed a determination to take all measures needed to reduce industrial energy costs.

Previously, in mid-July, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis declared the special consumption tax rate for mid-voltage industry would be reduced.

The energy ministry and industrial sector have since been exchanging ideas in search of measures that could partially close the substantial gap between industrial energy costs in Greece and the rest of Europe.

Greek wholesale electricity prices are, by far, the highest in Europe, recent first-half data showed. Greece’s wholesale electricity price level for the first half averaged 42.47 euros per MWh. Belgium registered 23.98 euros per MWh, Germany’s average was even lower, 22.86 euros per MWh. Prices ranged between 32 and 34 euros per MWh in neighboring Balkan countries.

PPC cautious with smart meter specifications following debacle

Power utility PPC is moving cautiously to set specifications for 7.5 million smart meters to be installed around the country following the debacle of a previous long-running effort, launched ten years ago, to no avail, for this mammoth project.

PPC and subsidiary DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, have been given authority by the energy ministry to prepare details of a new tender for the procurement and installation of smart meters that will replace conventional power meters throughout Greece.

A number of sub-tenders may be staged, given the size of the project, budgeted at approximately 850 million euros, sources said.

Authorities are likely to launch the new competitive procedure towards the end of this year or early next year.

The competitive procedure for smart meters is not linked to another procedure concerning the privatization of DEDDDIE/HEDNO, sources clarified in comments to energypress.

Regardless of its forthcoming privatization, DEDDDIE/HEDNO is carrying on with a company plan to modernize and upgrade its distribution network and infrastructure, the sources pointed out.

Competitive procedures for island hybrid stations, EC says

The European Commission is demanding competitive procedures for the installation of energy storage units or hybrid stations on the Greek islands as a condition for the establishment and approval of a thorough support framework covering such investments, energypress sources have informed.

Energy ministry officials are currently engaged in talks with the European Commission on energy storage and hybrid station installations for the islands.

A universal pricing framework offering investors specific tariffs for all the islands will not be possible if the European Commission condition for competitive procedures is to prevail.

Greek officials are pushing for a universal pricing framework for non-interconnected networks, hybrid units with RES facilities, and energy storage units, on the grounds that these greatly contribute to grid sufficiency and security and can also offer major cost savings by eliminating the need for high-cost, high-polluting diesel-fueled power stations that operate on non-interconnected islands.

In particular, the energy ministry is seeking Brussels’ approval for a transitional framework to support hybrid units on islands with mature investment proposals and production licenses.

Speaking at an Economist conference yesterday, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou said a plan for such a support mechanism has been submitted to the European Commission.

“We hope to have a response from the European Commission by the end of the year so that we can soon complete the pricing framework and make possible the actualization of these projects,” Sdoukou noted.

Initiatives are also being taken for the development of offshore solar farms and hydrogen-run unit, she added.

“We will continue to shape policies that promote renewables and guarantee that we will be at the forefront of the European energy transition,” Sdoukou concluded.

Ministry proposal seen ending PPC lignite monopoly case

Independent electricity retailers would be entitled to lignite-generated electricity supply from power utility PPC at a predetermined price, definitely not below cost for the utility, in quantities constituting 40 percent of each lignite-fired power station’s production, to be distributed to suppliers in proportion to their respective retail electricity market shares, until 2023, when  lignite-fired units are expected to have been phased out as part of the country’s decarbonization plan, according to a finalized proposal forwarded by the energy ministry to the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition a fortnight ago in an effort to resolve a long-running antitrust case.

Energy ministry officials are confident this formula will end the antitrust dispute, now a decade long, concerning’s PPC’s lignite sector monopoly.

Back in 2010, lignite dominated Greece’s energy mix but there is now much less at stake as lignite-fired power stations are being phased out over the next three years.

PPC’s lignite-fired electricity generation dropped 47.8 percent in the first half, diving 70 percent in the second quarter, the utility announced just days ago when presenting its first-half results.

PPC’s lignite-based output totaled 3,000 GWh in the first half and just 756 GWh in the second quarter.

Energy ministry officials believe the Directorate-General for Competition will not resist accepting the Athens proposal as a rejection would take the dispute back to European Court, meaning a case would not be heard any sooner than late-2021. By then, PPC’s lignite-fired power stations Kardia III and IV and Megalopoli III will have all been withdrawn, according to the latest schedule announced by energy minister Costis Hatzidakis earlier this week.

 

Officials to decide on next round of RES applications, RAE overloaded

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, overloaded with a backlog of RES production license applications ahead of a new round, will discuss its pressing situation with the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou at a meeting tomorrow.

The energy ministry will then decide on a date for the new round of applications. Officials have scheduled a next round for October, also stipulated by law. RES investors have expressed heightened interest during the approach.

RAE is concurrently examining older applications submitted until June, 2018, applications lodged between October, 2018 and December, 2019, and also preparing new terms for the forthcoming applications.

Older applications submitted until June, 2018 are being processed with support from software designed specifically for this purpose. These applications, numbering approximately 300, will also need to be examined, one by one, by the RAE board.

Similar software is also being used for the processing and examination of applications submitted between October, 2018 and December, 2019. Though this process is simpler, the numbers are bigger, tallying some 1,400.

RAE still has plenty of work to do to finalize a detailed proposal for producer certificate terms, intended to simplify the RES licensing procedure. Once ready, this proposal will need to be forwarded to the energy ministry, which, in turn, must sign a ministerial decision to bring the plan into effect.

Record-level interest by RES investors has been projected for the next round of applications. Two previous rounds that had been scheduled for March and June were not staged.

Pending issues to delay target model launch by a few weeks

The target model’s scheduled September 17 launch date is expected to be postponed by a few weeks following the identification, by authorities, of crucial unresolved issues, even at regulatory level, as well as discrepancies between dry-run market testing results and actual market conditions.

The energy ministry is believed to be preparing to announce the postponement over the next few days. A delay of at least four weeks is expected.

Officials identified the biggest discrepancies in the balancing market, one of the four market systems of the target model, also including day-ahead, intraday and forward markets.

Power grid operator IPTO forwarded a technical decision on balancing market clearing matters for public consultation last Friday, inviting market participants to comment by September 16, just one day ahead of the target model’s scheduled launch.

Other pending issues, sources noted, include a procedure for the selection of reserve power stations; a regulatory framework determining offers by participating units; as well as mechanisms enabling RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to monitor the behavior of market participants.

PV investor tariffs depend on legislative agenda order

The ability of PV investors to secure tariffs by November 26, when reference prices are due to change, will depend on whether related legislation can previously be submitted to Parliament and ratified.

The energy ministry has completed revisions enabling RES project investors to secure tariffs once their projects have been declared as ready for electrification, not based on their specified electrification dates, as is the case at present.

However, these revisions still need to be ratified in Parliament to come into effect. They are expected to be attached to a draft bill concerning spatial regulations for RES projects, whose consultation period expires tomorrow after having been granted an extension.

Tariff opportunities for projects that have been declared as ready for electrification will be missed if the draft bill is not legislated by the November date.

The energy ministry revisions cannot be attached to draft bills prepared by other ministries, meaning the ability of PV investors to secure tariffs before reference prices change will depend on the order of the government’s legislative agenda.

 

Ministry to finalize target model launch date next week

Though the electricity market’s target model launch is scheduled for a September 17 launch, energy ministry officials have shown some reservation by noting the ministry will be in a position to make a finalized decision on the precise date in one week, energypress sources have informed.

The ministry is closely monitoring an ongoing dry-run procedure offering simulated testing of all market systems and assessing their level of readiness on a daily basis, the sources noted.

Operators may have declared being ready for the launch but the energy ministry will not give the green light for a launch until it is absolutely certain that every single issue has been fully resolved.

A change of the launch date for the new markets – day-ahead, intraday, forward and balancing – will be made if this is considered necessary, but any deferral will be limited, officials noted, implying that no more than a few weeks could be given.

The dry-run procedure and rectification of any glitches was supposed to have been completed by now, but authorities have just granted an extension until September 6.

 

RAE facing backlog of RES license bids as new round nears

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is battling against time to process a backlog of RES production license applications ahead of a new round of applications, to be staged as a revised system offering producer certificates. This new framework is legislated to commence in October.

The authority is concurrently examining older applications submitted until June, 2018, applications lodged between October, 2018 and December, 2019, and also preparing new terms for the forthcoming applications scheduled to begin in October.

An overwhelming majority of investors has responded to a recent RAE request calling for reconfirmations and updates of older applications.

Older applications submitted until June, 2018 are being processed with support from software designed specifically for this purpose. These applications, numbering approximately 300, will also need to be examined, one by one, by the RAE board.

Similar software is also being used for the processing and examination of applications submitted between October, 2018 and December, 2019. Though this process is simpler, the numbers are bigger, tallying some 1,400.

RAE still has plenty of work to do to finalize a detailed proposal for producer certificate terms. Once ready, it will need to be forwarded to the energy ministry, which, in turn, must sign a ministerial decision to bring the plan into effect.

Two previous rounds that had been scheduled for March and June this year were not staged as a result of the upcoming new rules and change of licensing framework. Judging by current RES investor indications, the next round is expected to attract a record number of applications.

This forecast adds to RAE’s concerns about the backlog of applications that need to be cleared.

 

 

 

Safety mechanism to limit energy exchange fluctuations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suppliers want IPTO to take on part of €45m retroactive charge

Electricity suppliers, reacting to a 45 million-euro retroactive charge handed out by power grid operator IPTO for account discrepancies between November, 2019 and May, 2020, want the operator to accept responsibility for part of this cost and also expect the energy ministry to intervene.

Suppliers have asked for legislative and regulatory initiatives to offer greater transparency in calculations of various market-related accounts.

The operator has already delivered the resulting charges to suppliers, prompting their irritation.

The share of the 45 million-euro total cost for suppliers is proportional to their retail electricity market shares, meaning power utility PPC, the dominant player, has been asked to cover the greatest amount.

IPTO’s retroactive charge resulted from account miscalculations, by the operator, that did not factor in a part of RES output, specifically PV production in the low-voltage category.

The issue has also caused accounting confusion for suppliers, whose financial results for the months of November and December, 2019 – both included in IPTO’s discrepancy calculations – have already been finalized and published.

Entities such as IPTO ought to provide reassurances and solutions, not create ambiguities and problems, suppliers, bracing for further pandemic-related challenges as of September, have complained.

The ministry should intervene and offer market stability if the operator is unable to do so, suppliers asserted.

Household PV producers still awaiting decision for new plan

Electricity consumers interested in installing solar panels with capacities of up to 6 kWp on rooftops for the sale of production to the grid are being forced to keep waiting as a result of a delayed ministerial decision, despite the ratification of related legislation in March.

This ministerial decision was planned for June but the emergence of other priorities at the ministry, including preparations for a subsidy program supporting electric vehicle purchases through the EU’s post-pandemic recovery plan, has delayed this decision’s delivery.

Legislation was approved in March to once again enable household consumers to sell their self-produced electricity to the grid at a set price. An older program, concerning solar panels of up to 10 kWp for both households and businesses, expired on December 31, 2019.

The new legislation sets a selling price of 87 euros per MWh, or 8.7 cents per KWh, for domestic PV producers. 

The pending ministerial decision is expected to fine-tune various installation details.

The new program enabling households to sell their self-produced PV output to the grid should be ready for launch by autumn, barring no further delays.

Solar, wind project tariffs at time of project readiness

The energy ministry is preparing a legislative revision to secure tariff levels for solar and wind energy projects at the time of their certified readiness – by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO – not electrification, as is the case at present.

Energy ministry officials are convinced of this revision’s necessity as, in many cases, RES investors have completed the development of their projects but DEDDIE/HEDNO, for various reasons, cannot promptly offer grid connections for these projects, meaning tariff-related opportunities can be missed.

DEDDIE/HEDNO has expressed its support for the energy ministry’s planned revision. As part of the new procedure, the operator will conduct on-site inspections to confirm whether projects are ready for electrification before providing related certificates.

The overall revisions are expected to take two months to complete and be ready for implementation ahead of reference price changes scheduled for November 26. The energy ministry is expected to submit a legislative revision to Parliament within September.

Environmental permit exemption for PVs between 0.5-1 MW

A recent ministerial decision concerning the environmental classification of RES projects has been published in the government gazette, enabling the utilization of benefits offered by recent environmental legislation to photovoltaics between 0.5 and 1 MW, no longer requiring environmental permits.

There has been considerable confusion about environmental permit requirements for this RES category as regional authorities have been inconsistent with their policies. Some have exempted PV installations from the need for environmental permits while others have not.

To contain the confusion, the energy ministry had advised regional authorities not to offer environmental permit exemptions until the delivery of its related ministerial decision. Even so, a significant number of projects were offered permit exemptions prior to the ministerial decision.

It remains unclear how authorities will go about processing PV projects that were exempted from environmental permits but have remained stagnant following connection offer applications submitted to distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO.

Prinos field rescue effort now at the finance ministry

A government effort to rescue offshore Prinos, Greece’s only producing field, in the north, is now in the hands of the finance ministry following preceding work at the energy ministry, sources have informed.

The field, like the wider upstream industry, has been impacted by the pandemic and plunge in oil prices.

Deputy finance minister Theodoros Skylakakis is now handling the Prinos rescue case following the transfer of a related file from the energy ministry.

According to the sources, three scenarios are being considered. A financing plan through a loan with Greek State guarantees appears to be the top priority. A second option entails the utilization of an alternate form of state aid. The other consideration involves the Greek State’s equity participation in the Prinos field’s license holder, Energean Oil & Gas.

The European Commission will need to offer its approval to any of these options as they all represent forms of state aid.

Energy ministry sources have avoided offering details but are confident a solution is in the making.

Ministry OKs environmental study for blocks south of Crete

Energy minister Costis Hatzidakis has approved a strategic environmental impact study concerning an offshore area south of Crete in preparation for tenders to offer exploration and production licenses for two blocks covering most of the island’s width.

Giannis Basias, the former head official at EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company, went ahead with the strategic environmental impact study last August to clear the way for government authorities to stage tenders for licenses and also spare  winning bidders of needing to wait for pending issues to be resolved before they can begin their exploration efforts.

In addition, it is believed EDEY took swift action for the environmental impact study covering the offshore area south of Crete in response to interest expressed by oil majors.

The two offshore blocks south of Crete measure a total of 33,933 square kilometers and cover all four prefectures spread across the island.

These vacant blocks are situated next to two blocks southwest and west of Crete that have already been licensed out to a three-member consortium headed by Total with ExxonMobil and Hellenic Petroleum as partners.

The eastern flank of these two blocks is intruded by a corridor defined in a recent Turkish-Libyan maritime deal.

The Greek energy ministry’s approval of the strategic environmental impact study for south of Crete is not linked to Turkey’s heightened provocations in the Aegean Sea, ministry officials told energypress.

The environmental study’s approval means this offshore area is now set for tenders and also sends out a signal of readiness to the international upstream industry, the ministry officials explained.

Just days ago, the newly appointed EDEY administration and the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou met with officials of Total, operator of the consortium holding the two licenses southwest and west of Crete. Seismic surveys for these blocks will be completed by March next year, the Total officials appear to have promised.

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.

 

Suppliers resort to legal action against RAE over price clauses

Electricity suppliers may have adjusted price-related clauses included in their electricity bills following a request by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, seeking greater price-comparing clarity for consumers, but some of these suppliers, who consider the authority’s initiative to be an intrusion into corporate pricing policy matters, have chosen to take legal action against the authority.

RAE had asked for a standardized adjustment from electricity suppliers by June 14, but they responded with loose individual interpretations of the guidelines before many resorted to legal action.

When forwarding its clause-adjustment request to suppliers, RAE also asked the energy ministry to adopt its guidelines for official incorporation into the electricity market’s regulations.

According to sources, the energy ministry does not intend to adopt RAE’s recommendations and, instead, has asked the authority to reconsider its guidelines.

Electricity suppliers include clauses in their supply agreements with consumers that enable price revisions to cover cost increases.

Many consumers have complained about the price-related clauses, noting they are included in fine print and confusing.