Zero electricity subsidies for high-level usage considered

Electricity subsidies for high-level usage could be greatly reduced, even zeroed out, in February as a result of recent Eurogroup pressure applied on Greece for revisions to the country’s subsidy model.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas, admittedly working his way through an extremely busy schedule this week, has delayed announcing electricity subsidy levels for next month, suggesting revisions cannot be ruled out.

Subsidies are revised monthly, depending on nominal retail tariffs for each forthcoming month announced by suppliers on the 20th of each preceding month.

One thing for certain, the government’s electricity subsidies for low-voltage consumers will be reduced in February as a result of a sharp drop in wholesale electricity prices.

Subsidies will not need to exceed 5 to 6 cents per KWh to ensure retail power prices are contained at a level of between 14 and 16 cents per KWh, the government’s goal.

Power utility PPC, the dominant retail player whose monthly nominal tariffs subsequently shape electricity subsidies set by the state, has announced a nominal tariff rate of 19.9 cents per KWh for monthly household electricity consumption of up to 500 KWh in February, 60 percent below the utility’s nominal retail price for January.

Energy ministry officials are believed to even be considering zero subsidies for high-level consumers, though it is still unclear whether this category would be defined as monthly consumption exceeding 500 KWh or 1,000 KWh.

For some time now, the European Commission has applied pressure on Greece to revise its electricity subsidies model, applied universally. Brussels has called for a two-tier system benefiting lower-level electricity consumption.

Athens continuing with subsidy model despite Eurogroup request for cuts

The Greek government will continue offering electricity subsidies universally, to all consumers, based on a model it introduced in 2022, despite a Eurogroup proposal earlier this week for more restricted coverage giving priority to low-income households.

Finance minister Hristos Staikouras, commenting from Davos, and energy minister Kostas Skrekas, both ruled out any possibility of electricity subsidy cuts for now.

Greek elections are due within the next few months. Though electricity subsidies are keeping energy costs under control for consumers, they have hampered economic growth, as highlighted by GDP figures for 3Q in 2022.

The country’s subsidy strategy adopted in 2022, one that primarily supports households, as well as businesses, and which covered the majority of the energy crisis’ additional energy costs last year, without significant fiscal cost, will be continued, Staikouras, the finance minister, asserted from Davos.

Meanwhile, Skrekas, the energy minister, ruled out any chance of subsidy cuts until electricity suppliers are able to set retail prices at levels of 15 to 16 cents per KWh. He was fielding questions at a news conference on Greece’s revised National Energy and Climate Plan.

Given the current market conditions, suppliers are not too far off being in a position to set electricity prices at such levels. Their nominal prices for February, to be announced tomorrow – based on recent market rules requiring suppliers to announce their prices for each forthcoming month by the 20th of the previous month – are expected to be slashed by as much as 50 percent compared to January, to levels of around 20 cents per KWh. At such nominal levels, the government will chip in with subsidies not exceeding 6 cents per KWh.

In Greece, energy subsidy support offered in 2022 has been estimated to be worth 2.3 percent of the GDP, above the EU average of 1.3 percent of GDP, seen falling to 0.9 percent this year.

Suppliers hit by move for extra subsidies to businesses

An energy ministry decision, reached earlier this month, offering additional electricity subsidies to enterprises in categories up to 35kVA and all bakeries, regardless of energy consumption levels, without having been given the green light to do so by the European Commission, has led to major financial issues for suppliers, caught up in a situation where, among other things, they must either seek reimbursement from their customers or accept having lost these amounts by sacrificing funds through no fault of their own.

European Commission approval for additional electricity subsidies to these consumer groups expired in November.

This measure was launched in April, 2022, when the energy ministry asked suppliers to provide extra subsidies to these consumer groups, retroactively, from January, 2022. These additional subsidies have been offered on a monthly basis, following related monthly updates from the energy ministry to suppliers.

Brussels’ approval, last April, was offered under the condition that the additional-subsidies measure would only cover enterprises consuming up to 35kVA and all bakeries as long as they had not previously received state support exceeding specific limits. This means some recipients of these extra subsidies in 2022 may not have been eligible.

Making matters even more complicated for electricity suppliers, the energy ministry’s decision to keep offering additional electricity subsidies to these consumer groups will force suppliers to check customers for any excess state funds.


Windfall tax formula chosen for electricity suppliers

The energy ministry has decided on a universal profit margin to be applied to all  electricity suppliers, along with individualized cost calculations for a windfall tax formula, proposed by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, covering earnings from August through October in 2022.

Several cost factors will be taken into account when calculating sums to be subject to the extraordinary windfall tax, including operating costs, bad debt resulting from unpaid power bills, and the burden of hedging – for companies that engage in hedging.

The difference between nominal tariffs charged by suppliers each month and their respective average cost of acquiring electricity from the domestic wholesale market, including balancing costs, will be calculated. Then, a reasonable margin of activity will be deducted from the amount.

The resulting figure, in euros per MWh, will be used to calculate each company’s increased cash flow from supply of electricity to customers. Excess revenues will be determined from these increased inflows by subtracting each company’s hedging cost for the month.

Once the windfall amounts have been calculated, electricity suppliers will need to make immediate payments covering 60 percent of their respective totals, while the other 40 percent will be expected at a latter date.

Ministry scheme to filter out idle RES plans, representing vast majority

An overwhelming majority of RES projects that have received finalized connection terms from power grid operator IPTO can be considered stagnant as their investors have failed to sign agreements taking them to the next stage of the licensing procedure.

Of 11.3 GW in RES projects that received connection terms from IPTO in 2022, projects representing 8.9 GW have yet to sign agreements.

This slow movement by green investors is hindering the country’s ambitious RES objectives set for 2030 as stagnant RES projects are essentially reserving grid capacity that could otherwise be utilized by more robust investors.

In response, the energy ministry intends to soon deliver a draft bill that would prompt the withdrawal of idle RES projects taking up valuable grid capacity for extended periods, without any limits. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had first announced this plan at the Thessaloniki International Fair in September.

IPTO has delivered a related proposal, filtering out idle RES projects, to the energy ministry.

Projects that have received connection term offers up to December 31, 2022 will need to submit grid connection applications no later than 30 days after the energy ministry’s related legislative revision has been ratified, sources informed.

PPC negotiating long-term PPAs with 3 industrial players

Power utility PPC is holding talks with two, possibly three, industrial players for new electricity supply agreements in the form of long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) of up to ten years following the expiry, on January 1, of high-voltage supply deals.

PPC and the industrial enterprises involved in these negotiations are currently discussing the details of terms and fixed price levels, sources informed.

The energy ministry’s intention to exempt electricity producers from a wholesale electricity market cap, as long as they have established PPAs with energy-intensive consumers for physical delivery of power quantities, has served as a catalyst for the ongoing negotiations.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas is awaiting the European Commission’s approval for this exemption.

The industrial players discussing prospective PPAs with PPC cannot fully cover their energy needs through their own electricity production facilities, sources noted.

The current energy crisis highlights the energy-price volatility risk faced by industrial players and the importance of fixed electricity prices for stability and security to their operations, officials pointed out.

PPAs promise to offer industries energy-cost stability during times of great uncertainty, they added.


Factories closed as a result of high energy costs, PPAs urgently needed

A ministerial decision exempting power purchase agreements (PPAs) from a wholesale electricity market cap, a revision that would help resolve major energy-cost issues faced by the industrial sector, is expected to be signed by February 1, according to sources.

Industrial players, concerned about certain factors regarding this revision, have expressed uncertainty as to whether the ministerial decision, alone, will suffice for the exemption to be implemented or whether a legislative revision, needing more time, will also be needed. At present, a number of factories remain closed as a result of high energy costs.

Industrialists also want clarification on whether any intervention concerning operations at the energy exchange will be needed before PPAs can be exempted from the wholesale electricity market cap. If so, this would delay the revision’s implementation by a further four months, at least. Such a delay would prove devastating for industrial units, battling to deal with high energy costs.

Factories currently closed will remain shut until at least January 15. Their owners have yet to decide if they will reopen in the ensuing period. Industries that are still operating are being supplied electricity at regular wholesale prices, negatively impacting their production costs and competitiveness.

Ministry working on decision facilitating PPAs for industry

The energy ministry and European Commission are nearing an agreement that would exempt electricity producers from a wholesale electricity market cap as long as they have established power purchase agreements (PPAs) with energy-intensive consumers for physical delivery of power quantities.

The ministry is moving in this direction as it is seeking a subsidy-free solution for energy-intensive industrial consumers, facing urgent energy-cost issues as a result of expired or expiring power supply agreements, in 2023, with power utility PPC. The power utility has ruled out any chance of renewing supply agreements with industrial consumers under favorable terms, as had been the case until now.

For most industries, PPC supply contracts expired at the end of 2022, while the remainder face expiring contracts in 2023.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas is preparing a ministerial decision that will pave the way for the establishment of PPAs between electricity producers and high-voltage industries, sources informed.

Both electricity producers and consumers will need to present detailed schedules of physical power deliveries to be eligible for PPAs.

The minister pledged, last month, to deliver a related ministerial decision while participating at a meeting held by SEV, the Hellenic Association of Industrialists.

PPAs will reportedly initially be applicable between industries and lignite and gas-fired power plants, followed by industries and RES producers.

Industrial sector sources told energypress they have yet to receive news of any specific decision by the energy ministry, recalling that most industrial plants are being billed at wholesale electricity market prices as of January 1, noting PPC does not intend to renew their supply contracts under previous terms.

First energy storage auction to be announced end of 1Q in ’23

Energy ministry officials have reached an advanced stage for a formula concerning standalone battery system auction rules, but are expected to require a further two months or so to finalize all the details.

Given the work still needed, officials are expected to announce a first standalone energy storage auction at the end of the first quarter in 2023.

The capacity to be allocated for each of two auctions is one of the details that still need to be determined at the energy ministry.

Officials initially intended to evenly split an overall capacity of 900 to 1,000 MW between the two sessions, but are now considering allocating a greater share of the total to the first of the two auctions.

In addition, ministry officials have yet to decide on the licensing maturity level investors behind storage units will need to have reached in order to be able to participate in these auctions.

Investors may be required to have obtained finalized connection terms to be considered eligible for the energy storage auctions, a prerequisite that applies for renewable energy facilities and their respective auctions.

Whatever the outcome, authorities are looking to create conditions that will ensure high levels of auction participation and competition amongst bidders.

The government plans to allocate a Recovery Fund sum of 200 million euros as support for energy storage projects.

As regards energy storage projects for which permits have already been issued, 62, or 22 percent of the total, are planned to have capacities in excess of 100 MW. Of these, 16 possess capacities of more than 200 MW, the largest of these reaching 300 MW.



Gas meters to be replaced with digital equivalents by 2027

Gas distributors EDA Attiki and EDA THESS plan to gradually replace 400,000 existing natural gas meters in Athens, Thessaloniki and Thessaly, the areas they cover, by 2027 with upgraded smart versions, a project estimated to cost between 40 and 50 million euros.

The upgrade promises to play an important role in the digitization of the country’s gas distribution, greatly improving its performance as well as services offered to households and businesses using natural gas.

The gas companies aim to have this ambitious project included in development programs covering 2023 to 2027.

The two operators have already prepared a cost-benefit analysis that will soon be forwarded for consultation by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The authority will then recommend an overall strategy for the project to the energy ministry, which, in turn, will deliver a ministerial decision paving the way for the project’s launch through development programs.


Mytilineos highlights energy cost woes faced by industry

Leading industrialist Evangelos Mytilineos, chairman and CEO of the Mytilineos group, has pointed out the energy-cost challenges faced by group member Aluminium of Greece ahead of its expiring electricity supply agreement with power utility PPC.

The power utility has already made clear it cannot continue offering favorable electricity supply agreements to industrial consumers, especially under the current market conditions.

Aluminium of Greece’s electricity supply agreement with PPC expires in 2023. Other energy-intensive industries are also under pressure to resolve their energy-cost issues. For some, the problem is even more acute as their supply agreements with PPC end at the end of this year.

PPC, in negotiations with industrial consumers, has remained adamant on its position, insisting it cannot keep offering favorable terms, especially given the adverse market conditions and a current wholesale market model that  severely restricts profit margins of electricity producers and transfers excess revenues to the Energy Transition Fund for financing of household support measures.

In response, the government is now looking for solutions that would offer incentive for power purchase agreements (PPAs) between renewable energy producers and industrial enterprises, the objective being to ease the energy-cost burden on industries.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas recently sat in at a meeting staged by SEV, the Hellenic Association of Industrialists, which called for urgent action that could resolve the energy cost concerns faced by industrial enterprises.


Less red tape for net-metering PV installations

The energy ministry has set as a priority to simplify the bureaucratic procedure households and businesses must go through to install solar panels for net metering purposes, before it launches a subsidy program for over 250,000 such installations, as it has announced.

Officials at the energy ministry and distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO are currently finalizing legal revisions needed to simplify the procedure for net-metering solar panel installations.

The country’s political leadership has asked officials working on the matter to abolish the need for any unnecessary supporting documents and make the procedure as simple as possible for applicants.

The objective is to simplify the procedure down to a level requiring just a few steps, all online.

The distribution network operator has made available 10 MW at each of its sub-stations to facilitate grid entry for the forthcoming subsidy program’s solar power systems to be installed for net metering purposes.

The government is expected to publish guidelines for the subsidy program early in 2023.


Crete added to first-round list of offshore wind farm areas

Crete will be included on a list of regions selected for first-round development of offshore wind farms, planned to offer an installed capacity of 2 GW by 2030, joining Alexandroupoli, in northeastern Greece, already chosen by the energy ministry through a legislative procedure, Alexandra Sdoukou, the ministry’s secretary-general, has revealed at an industry conference.

No further details were given on the Cretan offshore area to be chosen for the first-round development of offshore wind farms, through licenses offered at auction.

One or two more offshore areas, already identified, will be added to the list of Organized Offshore Wind Farm Development Areas (POAYAP), Sdoukou informed the event. However, the energy ministry official did not name these areas, noting she could not elaborate as related talks with respective local authorities were still in progress.

Sdoukou noted the 2030 target will be to mobilize private investment of 6.3 billion euros, when referring to the results of research conducted by consultancy group Grant Thornton on the added value for the national economy to result from this new RES sub-sector.

Of these funds, 4.3 billion euros will flow directly into the domestic economy, creating up to 8,220 new jobs by the end of this decade, she added.

During the creation of an institutional framework for offshore wind farms, Sdoukou commissioned a team of experts to survey the Greek seas, as a covert operation, with assistance from the foreign affairs, defence and tourism ministries, she told the conference.

It was organized by the Hellenic Hydrocarbons and Energy Resources Management Company (HEREMA/EDEYEP), the Greek Wind Energy Association (ELETAEN), and Grant Thornton, under the auspices of the energy ministry.



‘Windfall tax must take into account month’s likely losses’

Electricity suppliers are reacting against a new windfall profit tax, to be applied on a quarterly basis without taking into account end-of-year financial figures and possible losses.

Many of the country’s electricity suppliers have forwarded financial data such as volume sales, customer arrears and bad debt expected by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, still awaiting data from the remainder of suppliers before it establishes a profit margin recommendation, linked to a new windfall tax. The authority plans to forwards its proposal to the energy ministry next week.

RAE will take into account the financial data forwarded by suppliers to establish a windfall tax rate for an initial first three-month period, covering August 1 to October 31.

According to the new tax measure, suppliers will need to pay 60 percent of any resulting windfall profit tax by December 23, meaning the measure’s details will need to be finalized within the next two weeks.

Some of the country’s electricity suppliers could incur operating losses in December as a result of rising wholesale electricity prices and a recently introduced rule requiring them to announce their prices for each ensuing month by the 20th of the preceding month.

Suppliers have announced retail electricity prices ranging from 28 to 38 cents per KWh for December. Those pursuing more aggressive pricing policies stand to incur losses this month as a result of the latest rise in energy prices.


Achlada mine set to reopen, ministry revokes older decision

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas has revoked an older decision terminating the Greek State’s lease contract with Achlada Mining S.A. for the exploitation of a lignite mine in northern Greece’s Achlada area.

This decision will enable the mine’s reopening and ensure the nearby Meliti lignite-fired power station operates at full capacity to help the country secure energy sufficiency amidst the energy crisis.

Achlada Mining S.A. had had its Achlada mine license terminated after failing to meet lease contract payments.

In the lead-up to the minister’s decision to revoke the termination of Achlada Mining S.A.’s lease contract with the State, the company covered just over 10 percent of its 5.69 million-euro debt owed to the Greek State, making a payment of 659,867 euros in September.

The energy ministry has given Achlada Mining S.A. a 60-day period to deliver the rest of the amount, approximately 5 million euros. This debt concerns older lease amounts from 2017.

Power suppliers windfall profit recovery plan proceeding

The energy ministry has just submitted to parliament an amendment for a mechanism designed to recover windfall earnings gained by electricity suppliers, initially from August 1 to October 31 this year.

The mechanism will be implemented repeatedly over additional three-month periods for as long as it is needed.

A universal windfall earnings level will be set as a benchmark. Earnings exceeding or falling below this level from month to month will be offset for each three-month period, according to the plan.

Electricity suppliers found to have benefited from windfall earnings will need to swiftly return 60 percent of amounts determined by the new formula, while payment of the remaining 40 percent will be expected at latter dates.

For the measure’s initial three-month period, electricity suppliers will need to return 60 percent of windfall earnings by December 23.

The energy ministry notes it has taken into account concerns raised by suppliers over factors shaping actual cost of electricity supply.


Suppliers demand cost consideration ahead of extraordinary tax

Electricity suppliers facing an extraordinary tax of 90 percent on windfall earnings between August and November argue the energy ministry, engineering the tax, should take into account hefty costs they have been prepared to shoulder as a means of subduing retail price levels for consumers.

The energy ministry, currently finalizing a formula for this tax, insists electricity suppliers have benefited from excessive earnings, especially in September and October, implying suppliers overpriced their electricity during this two-month period.

Suppliers, on the other hand, contend they are forced to purchase electricity in advance to protect themselves against fluctuating prices and are engaging in hedging activities as a result of being required, by law, to announce their retail prices for upcoming months by the 20th of each preceding month.

Hedging, as well as other business costs, should be taken into account before the extraordinary tax is imposed, electricity retailers have stressed.

South Kavala UGS tender likely to conclude without result

A deadline for the submission of binding bids in a tender staged by privatization fund TAIPED for the almost depleted natural gas field of “South Kavala” in the Aegean Sea’s north, being offered for the development and operation of a prospective underground natural gas storage facility (UGS) for a 50-year period, has been finalized for November 28, approximately two-and-a-half years after the tender was announced, energypress sources have informed.

However, the tender’s two final-round qualifiers – Energean and a partnership bringing together gas grid operator DESFA and construction company GEK Terna – have complained related pricing regulations are far from making the investment viable. Subsequently, the participants will most likely not submit binding bids, sources closely following the procedure have noted.

If so, the tender will most likely be declared inconclusive, setting back the country’s plan for a domestic UGS. Its gas storage capacity would offer crucial protection for Greece against international market price volatility.

Officials representing the energy ministry, TAIPED and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, held a meeting last week on the South Kavala UGS, where a decision was reached to complete the ongoing tender as soon as possible, with the current pricing regulation intact.

The tender for the South Kavala UGS was launched by TAIPED in June, 2020.

Environmental permit delays for storage units up to 100 MW

Investors seeking to obtain environmental permits for energy storage units with capacities of up to 100 MW, after having secured project licenses, are experiencing delays.

This problem has arisen as prospective energy storage units of up to 100 MW have been placed in a second-tier category lacking a standardized formula for environmental permits. As a result, regional administrations around the country are each following separate procedures as they see fit.

The energy ministry issued a circular just weeks ago seeking to straighten out the issue, noting environmental reports concerning energy storage projects should lead to environmental permits, but some regional administrations have remained wary.

On the contrary, investors behind bigger energy storage projects, are not experiencing delays and are completing their environmental permit procedures, sources told energypress.

Investors in this category are moving ahead with energy storage projects to offer capacities of between 200 and 220 MW and have submitted connection-term applications to power grid operator IPTO.

Power suppliers oppose ‘faulty’ tax plan for windfall earnings

Electricity suppliers have reacted against a formula the energy ministry appears to have settled with for an extraordinary 90 percent tax on windfall earnings.

Officials at electricity supply companies, contacted by enegypress, described the formula likely to be adopted by the energy ministry as hastily prepared with shortcomings, especially its dimension concerning the setting, universally, of reasonable price levels to be used to calculate windfall earnings.

A reasonable universal price level cannot be set as electricity supply companies each have unique profiles and different pricing policies, company representatives pointed out.

In any case, there are parameters in the equation that decisively shape the cost of each kilowatt-hour for supply companies, beyond what is objectively derived from the wholesale market.

The most decisive parameter is hedging, which supply companies are obliged to engage in when announcing price lists each month. Vertically integrated companies hedge mainly by locking in gas prices which they pay, regardless of whether prices subsequently fall or rise, while independent suppliers hedge by locking in prices and quantities of electricity from producers or international exchanges.

The energy ministry plans to bring to parliament, by the end of this month, an amendment for windfall earnings benefitting suppliers between last August and the current month.


Auction for lower electricity usage pay by end of November

The energy ministry is aiming to stage a first auction by the end of this month for remuneration of high and medium-voltage enterprises cutting back on electricity usage as of December 1, through a mechanism being prepared by IPTO, the power grid operator.

All EU members will need to reduce electricity consumption by 5 percent during peak demand as of December 1.

In Greece, high and medium-voltage enterprises will bid for remuneration amounts at auction as compensation for reduced electricity usage.

The 5 percent reduction of electricity usage for low-voltage consumers will be optional, one reason beign that households have yet to be installed with smart meters, meaning their electricity consumption levels at specific times of the day cannot be tracked.

Consumers in Greece will be set a three-hour low-consumption period, between 6 pm and 9 pm, throughout the week. Households will need to try and avoid using energy-intensive appliances during these hours.

Extraordinary tax on power supplier windfall earnings

The energy ministry is preparing an amendment for an extraordinary tax of 90 percent on any windfall earnings gained by electricity suppliers since August, which it expects to submit to parliament by the end of November, sources have informed.

This extraordinary tax will be imposed on any windfall earnings made by electricity suppliers between August, 2022 and November, 2022.

Excess earnings will be calculated based on a reasonable monthly electricity supply price to be set for all companies. Earnings exceeding or not reaching resulting levels from month to month will be offset and the net sum will be subject to the 90 percent windfall tax.

This measure comes in addition to a number of other extraordinary tax measures introduced in the energy sector as the government seeks to raise revenues to ensure the continuation of electricity bill subsidies and safeguard state budget resources.

Officials are already moving ahead with another extraordinary tax of 90 percent on windfall earnings of electricity producers between October, 2021 and April, 2022, the aim of this measure being to raise 460 million euros.

Extraordinary tax on producer windfall profits to raise €460m

A new joint ministerial decision by the finance and energy ministers has introduced a formula for a temporary extraordinary tax on windfall earnings accumulated by vertically integrated energy groups during the nine-month period between October, 2021 and June, 2022.

The windfall tax, whose coefficient has been set at 90 percent, is expected to result in a collection of approximately 460 million euros.

The joint ministerial decision, published in the government gazette, overcomes a delay in the delivery of certified data by a certified accountant to RAE, the Regulatory Authority of Energy, as was foreseen in the original joint ministerial decision. It enables preliminary calculation by RAE, based on the uncertified data, so that a provisional extraordinary levy can be paid immediately by all electricity producers.

Specific amounts, and any corrections needed, will be calculated at a latter date, based on data that will have been certified.

RES project investors, facing higher costs, call for tariff increases

RES project investors are calling for an upward revision of fixed tariffs secured at previous auctions as a result of higher costs impacting their business plans.

Costlier prices for equipment and building materials, such as steel, as well as higher lending rates, have exceeded initial budget estimates of investors, making development of their projects extremely difficult, and, in some cases, impossible.

The call by investors for higher RES tariffs has yet to be officially expressed by any RES association.

According to sources, the energy ministry is well aware of the issue and considers the call by investors for higher tariffs a fair request. Officials at the ministry are believed to be working on a formula that would resolve the problem.

RES tariffs were recently increased in France and Portugal after officials determined their respective national green energy targets were in danger under the current market conditions.

Working groups to seek solutions for electricity bill payment evasion

Working groups formed by the energy ministry and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to discuss measures aiming to prevent electricity consumers from switching suppliers, leaving behind unpaid power bills in the process, and also to stop consumers from exploiting a universal electricity supply service, covering the needs of black-listed consumers reported by suppliers for electricity-bill payment failures, will be discussed at a teleconference today.

A decision leading to the formation of these working groups to resolve the two issues was reached in late September at a meeting involving the energy ministry, RAE, and all the country’s electricity suppliers.

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

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


Demand response aggregators part of energy saving strategy

The use of demand response green aggregators in power grid operator IPTO auctions, as part of the effort to reduce electricity consumption by 5 percent, a European Commission requirement to be introduced December 1 for all EU member states, was one of the tools discussed at a broad energy ministry meeting focused on establishing an energy-saving strategy ahead of the requirement.

Besides energy ministry officials, the meeting, staged last Friday, also involved representatives of RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, IPTO, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and the country’s five licensed aggregators.

In Greece, electricity usage restrictions will be imposed from 6pm-9pm on weekdays, with an additional hour, either between 9am and 10am or 9pm and 10 pm. Weekend restrictions may also be enforced to help achieve the 5 percent electricity consumption cut.


Monthly auctions for industrial energy-saving compensation

Industrial consumers – high and medium-voltage – will be offered energy-saving incentives through monthly auctions offering compensation for bids with the lowest compensation levels, it has been decided at an extraordinary meeting yesterday involving the energy ministry, RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy), distribution network operator HEDNO/DEDDIE and power grid operator IPTO.

The session was staged ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of EU energy ministers, whose agenda will include talks for the establishment of a formula reducing electricity usage.

The European Commission has prepared a plan for 5 percent reduction of electricity consumption during peak hours, but, following negotiations over the past few days, this reduction rate could be cut to 3 percent. Member states are expected to seek flexible terms.

Electricity consumption restrictions, in Greece, between 6pm and 9pm are seen as a certainty following yesterday’s meeting of Greek officials. Also, an additional hour during non-peak hours will most likely be introduced, but it remains unclear whether this hour will be set in the morning, from 9am to 10am, or in the evening, from 9pm to 10pm.

Static RES projects occupying grid capacity to be cancelled

The energy ministry plans to stop granting free-handed connection term extensions to RES projects that have not made licensing progress over considerable periods, the objective being to reserve as much grid capacity as possible for renewable energy investors determined to push ahead with their project plans.

Ministry action is expected to lead to the termination of RES project plans that have secured connection terms but remained stagnant for no apparent reason. The resulting free space will be made available to investors keen to push ahead with green energy projects.

However, in taking action to make rules stricter for RES investors, the energy ministry will tread carefully to establish a formula that will avoid cancelling out projects that have been delayed for reasons beyond the control of their investors.

For example, development of some RES projects has been held back by legal wrangles. The ministry does not intend to cancel such projects.

However, the energy ministry believes a considerable number of RES projects have no reason to be stagnant. The focus will be on such cases.

Power grid operator IPTO has granted RES connection terms totaling approximately 11 GW, of which 3 GW, sources informed, concern projects not making any progress.


Western corridor grid project’s final expropriations announced

Power grid operator IPTO’s “western corridor” grid project, to link the Peloponnese with the ultra high voltage network, has reached its final stretch following the energy ministry’s announcement of an additional expropriation procedure concerning private land needed for the development of the network from Patras to Megaloupoli.

The expropriations will enable the completion of an alternative route for an overhead transmission line that detours Agioi Theodoroi, a monastery in the Kalavrtyta area, northern Peloponnese, following its objections, three years ago, to the project running by the monastery.

The project’s completion will enable power utility PPC’s Megalopoli V power station, a 400-kV capacity unit, to help cover the country’s electricity demand.

The additional expropriation plan concerns two expanses, one measuring a total of 5,577 square meters, the other 915 square meters.

The first expanse, comprising a total of 30 plots in a wider area of Patras, northwestern Peloponnese, is planned to host a transmission line running a total length of 6.77 km.

The second expanse, made up of eight plots in the Kalavryta area is planned to host a transmission line running a length of 1.98 km.

The energy ministry decision also paves the way for the development of a transmission line from Patras to Megalopoli, in central Peloponnese, on land covering 13,077.37 square metres in the wider Kalavryta area.