Market players call for end to measures in DG Energy meet

Key local energy market players, meeting yesterday with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy Ditte Juul-Joergensen, in Greece to take part in the ongoing Delphi Economic Forum, have called for emergency energy crisis measures implemented in the wholesale and retail electricity markets to be lifted.

The European Commission official informed that the Directorate-General for Energy plans to publish an impact assessment of temporary energy crisis measures adopted throughout the EU by the end of the month.

Juul-Joergensen asked her meeting’s participating energy market officials to name existing problems and challenges resulting from the energy crisis, discuss how these have been countered, and propose two to three energy policy priorities for Greece and the EU over the next few years.

Besides calling for an end to emergency energy crisis measures implemented in electricity markets, or more specifically, a cap on electricity producer earnings, representatives of ESAI, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, requested the establishment of a new availability market, either for available capacity or available flexibility capacity.

Representatives of ESPEN, the Greek Energy Suppliers Suppliers Association, who also took part in the meeting, noted that temporary energy subsidies provided in Greece have proved effective in protecting consumers from unprecedented electricity price increases, adding, however, that emergency measures implemented in the wholesale and retail markets have greatly impacted competition.

The pros and cons of measures adopted need to be carefully assessed before any extensions are granted, ESPEN officials noted.

The Greek government has submitted a request to Brussels for an extension of emergency energy market measures until the end of the year. The request is being assessed, Juul-Joergensen informed, without specifying when a decision could be reached.


Top energy sector officials taking part at Power & Gas Forum, March 22-23

The government’s top-ranked energy sector officials as well as a host of other leading figures from political, institutional, academic and business domains will be talking part in the Power & Gas Forum on March 22 and 23 at the Wyndham Grand Athens Hotel, an event being staged by energypress for a fourth time. Conference speakers and attendees will participate in person.

Speakers at the event will include Greek energy minister Kostas Skrekas; the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou; secretary-general of transport at the ministry of infrastructure and transport Ioannis Xifaras; RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) president Athanasios Dagoumas; EFET’s (European Federation of Energy Traders) Jerome Le Page; Tomás Llobet of European Energy Retailers (EER); two former Greek energy ministers, Giannis Maniatis and Giorgos Stathakis; Sokratis Famellos, a member of the main opposition leftist Syriza party; and Haris Doukas of the PASOK-KINAL socialist party.

Other conference participants will include power grid operator IPTO’s chief executive officer Manos Manousakis and his deputy Giannis Margaris; gas grid operator DESFA’s chief executive Maria Rita Galli; RES market operator DAPEEP’s president and CEO Giannis Giarentis; distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO’s chief executive Anastasios Manos; EDEYEP (Hellenic Hydrocarbons and Energy Resources Management Company) president Aristofanis Stefatos; the Hellenic Energy Exchange’s newly appointed CEO Alexandros Papageorgiou; EDA THESS general manager and EDA ATTIKI CEO Leonidas Bakouras; the Greek prime minister’s special adviser for energy Nikos Tsafos; energy ministry adviser Theodoros Tsakiris; and energy markets guru Alex Papalexopoulos.

The academic community will be represented by professors Pantelis Kapros, Stavros Papathanasiou, Pantelis Biskas, Nikolaos Hatziargyriou and Antonis Metaxas.

As always, energy-sector authorities will also participate at the event. They include Loukas Dimitriou (ESAI/HAIPP – Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers); Antonis Kontoleon (EVIKEN – Association of Industrial Energy Consumers); Giannis Mitropoulos and Miltos Aslanoglou (ESPEN – Greek Energy Suppliers Association); Irodotos Antonopoulos (ESEPIE – Hellenic Association of Electricity Trading & Supply Companies); Panagiotis Lostarakos and Panagiotis Papastamatiou (ELETAEN – Greek Wind Energy Association); Stelios Loumakis (SPEF – Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers); and Stelios Psomas (SEF/HELAPCO – Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies).

Key sector entrpreneurs and executives who have so far confirmed their participation include: Ioannis Kalafatas (Mytilineos); Kyriakos Kofinas (PPC); Nikolaos Zahariadis (Elpedison); Anastasios Lostarakos (NRG); Dinos Nikolaou (Energean); Kostis Sifnaios (Gastrade); Nikolaos Satras (Dioryga Gas); Panos Nikou (Volterra); and Ioannis Kokkotos (ABB).

The forum’s full agenda will be finalized and announced in the coming days.

Suppliers want power cuts for roving consumers with arrears

Electricity suppliers are pressuring authorities for measures protecting them against energy-bill debt left behind by consumers switching to other suppliers.

Two industry associations, ESAI/HAIPP, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, and ESPEN, the Greek Energy Suppliers Association, are believed to have forwarded proposals to the energy ministry for measures protecting electricity suppliers against consumers on the run.

The energy ministry launched a related consultation procedure approximately one month ago.

According to sources, electricity suppliers want the energy ministry to establish a law permitting them to cut power supply to customers who have switched to other suppliers for up to 90 days following their respective moves, if they still owe amounts to previous suppliers.

This rule would require consumers who have switched suppliers, leaving behind outstanding electricity bill amounts, to settle arrears within a 90-day period, either through full payments or installments, or have their electricity supply cut.

Electricity suppliers have been under increased pressure as a result of a growing amount of unpaid electricity bills during the energy crisis as well as the absence of rules countering consumers who rove from one supplier to another as a means of avoiding electricity-bill payments.

Electricity producers react against tax on windfall profit

Electricity producers have reacted against an extraordinary 90 percent retroactive tax on windfall profits from October, 2021 to June, 2022, opposing the logic behind the measure, not its resulting sums. Some producers claim the initiative amounts to confiscation and appear to be preparing for legal action.

Dinos Benroubi, president of ESAI, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, told the recent Renewable & Storage Forum, an event staged by energypress, the measure punishes anybody who makes money without taking into account how this money is made. He described the government measure as “confiscation”.

Electricity producers contend they have not been taken by surprise as the sums to be paid had, more or less, been anticipated and budgeted.

Even so, some company representatives told energypress they will react to the plan, while others seem to be preparing legal challenges.

The retroactive tax is expected to raise 373.55 million euros, of which a sum estimated between 260 and 270 million euros concerns power utility PPC, the dominant market player. The majority of the remaining 100 or so million euros, or 70 to 80 million euros, concerns the country’s four independent power producers, while renewable energy producers will be responsible for the rest.

‘Higher CO2 limit for gas-fired units until hydrogen-based output is plentiful’

The Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers (ESAI/HAIPP) has called for the establishment of a higher transitional CO2 emission limit of 340 grams per KWh produced for new natural gas-fired power stations until hydrogen-based electricity production is generated in abundance.

The association submitted its proposal to energy minister Kostas Skrekas ahead of the completion, this Friday, of ongoing consultation between the European Commission and the Greek government on a green energy framework, the Taxonomy Complementary Delegated Act.

ESAI/HAIPP has also proposed that the CO2 limit for existing low-polluting natural gas-fired power stations be raised to 450 grams per KWh produced from the present level of 380 grams.

The association is striving for the European Taxonomy to also cater to the needs of natural gas-fired power stations so that their loan obligations can be met without alarm.

ESAI/HAIPP has stressed that a 270-gram limit proposed by the European Commission for new natural gas-fired power stations is not feasible.

RAE adopts new redispatching system, producers fear cost increases

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has decided to move ahead with an energy balancing and redispatching plan in accordance with a formula prepared by power grid operator IPTO following a meeting yesterday between representatives of ESAI, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, and IPTO.

Public consultation was also staged by RAE on the IPTO formula, prepared by the operator after being commissioned by the authority.

ESAI has expressed concern about the new plan, warning that changes to the current system could increase, rather than contain, balancing costs in the wholesale electricity market, amongst other dangers.

Natural gas-fired electricity producers noted that balancing market revisions decided on ought to have undergone an extensive trial period before being implemented.


Target model ‘dangerous without monitoring mechanism’

The launch of target model markets without a fully functional market monitoring mechanism from the very first day, if not sooner, threatens to undermine the entire effort, two industry associations, ESAI/HAIPP, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, and ESEPIE, the Hellenic Association of Electricity Trading & Supply Companies, have reiterated in warnings to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

RAE is currently preparing a market monitoring mechanism, with support from a specialized consultant from abroad, for the target model markets, but the project is still a long way off, energypress sources have informed. RAE is believed to have received an initial draft of the monitoring mechanism plan now being processed in detail for a finalized version.

The market monitoring mechanism, needed to ensure healthy electricity market competition, will accumulate data from power grid operator IPTO and the Greek energy exchange to identify possible market manipulation practices.

The target model, aiming to harmonize Greece’s electricity market with wholesale electricity markets in the EU, faces a delay of a few weeks. Authorities identified pending issues in the lead-up to the previous launch date, scheduled for September 17.

Even the smallest of flaws in a market as limited in size and depth as the Greek market can prompt major financial consequences for participants, ESEPIE warned in its letter to RAE.

The implementation of an effective monitoring mechanism can prevent such setbacks and is essential for creating a climate of confidence in the new markets, the association stressed, adding the mechanism should have been applied during dry testing staged in the lead-up to the target model launch.

Extra week for dry-run tests ahead of target model launch

A dry run procedure offering simulated testing of all market systems and resolving any glitches ahead of the target model launch, scheduled for September 17, has been extended for another week until September 6.

Authorities met last Friday for a latest review of dry-run results. ESAI/HAIPP, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, in its observations, primarily focused on the balancing market.

The association also objected to integrated programming process revisions proposed by power grid operator IPTO, as well as the timing of these proposals, just days ahead of the official launch of markets.

ESAI/HAIPP is expected to forward its views on the issue, in writing, to the energy ministry, later today or tomorrow. The matter essentially concerns the calculation of reserves to be covered by the system for its security.

The Energy Exchange, to operate the day-ahead, intraday and forward markets, and IPTO, operating the balancing market, are both scheduled – based on a ministerial decision – to deliver an interim report this week for the energy ministry and RAE on the progress and level of readiness of market systems.

These systems have been undergoing continual testing since August 3. The number of dry-run participants has increased in recent days, while price levels are now at far more rational levels, especially in the day-ahead market.

All market participants, approximately 60 in total, have until September 4 to submit required supporting documents to the Energy Exchange in order to receive membership registration certificates by September 11.


PPC, majors face 20% sale limit on output for bilateral contracts

Vertically integrated electricity producers will be permitted to sell up to 20 percent of production through mutual agreements once the target model is launched, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has decided, ultimately doubling a 10 percent limited proposed by the Greek stock exchange, energypress sources have informed.

RAE reached its decision to set the limit at 20 percent after considering arguments presented by producers and sector authorities during consultation.

The limit takes into effect power utility PPC, dominating the retail market, as well as all integrated producers with retail market shares of more than 4 percent – namely, as things stand, Protergia, Heron and Elpedison, all with over 4 percent for quite some time now.

This decision by RAE is one of the last pending issues concerning energy exchange markets, recently rescheduled to begin operating on September 17, if all goes according to plan from here on.

ESAI/HAIPP, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, had proposed a limit of between 5 and 10 percent for PPC’s mutual agreements and forward contracts, and proportional limits for vertically integrated electricity producers with market shares of more than 4 percent.

PPC, which, from the outset, pushed for a 20 percent limit, based its argument on a study by global energy consulting company ECCO International, according to which the sale limit on output should range between 10 and 20 percent.


Motor Oil wants Corinth FSRU included in DESFA 10-year plan

Petroleum group Motor Oil wants a prospective FSRU project for Corinth, west of Athens, included in gas grid operator DESFA’s ten-year plan, it has noted in a letter forwarded to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, as part of a related public consultation procedure.

A floating LNG terminal at Corinth would offer multiple benefits for the natural gas markets of Greece and the wider southeast European region and, therefore, must be included in DESFA’s ten-year plan, Motor Oil supported in its letter.

RAE has already awarded a license for the project but a decision concerning a future capacity commitment at this new national grid entry point has remained pending since last June.

The project is strategically important as a very large proportion of Greece’s current – and near-future – gas imports enter via Turkish territory, Motor Oil pointed out. The Corinth FSRU would further diversify Greece’s supply sources, without geopolitical risks or restrictions, as the facility will be able to absorb supply from anywhere in the world, the petroleum group added.

This FSRU would ease congestion at the existing Revythoussa unit off Athens and contribute to energy supply security, Motor Oil, operating a major refining facility in Corinth, also noted among other factors.

ESAI/HAIPP, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, has also expressed support for the Corinth FSRU, noting, in its letter, the facility would offer a new gas grid entry point, desaturate Revythoussa and help offer more competitively priced natural gas to the Greek market.

Gas-fueled power stations still not fully recovering costs

The country’s independent gas-fueled power stations failed to fully recover their operating costs in 2019 despite increased operating hours, ongoing market distortions being a key factor, sources at ESAI/HAIPP, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, have stressed.

Though gas-fueled electricity production captured a 32 percent market share in 2019, far bigger than the lignite-fired share, gas-run units were unable to full cover costs as a result of persisting wholesale market restrictions.

For years, ESAI/HAIPP has contended that hydropower unit operations in Greece lead to a de facto price cap in the market. Price levels could theoretically be set at around 300 euros per MWh but the operating method of hydropower plants considerably lowers these levels.

This situation is preventing gas-fueled power stations from fully recovering costs. Their cost recovery is limited to variable costs. Revenues generated by these facilities do not suffice to cover capital investments and maintenance costs.

For some years now, ESAI/HAIPP, has pressured power grid operator IPTO for a new formula calculating available water reserves. RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, launched an initial public consultation procedure on the matter in 2008 that failed to deliver any corrective action.

In the most recent public consultation procedure, staged in 2018, ESAI/HAIPP pointed out a series of factors requiring attention, including a need for greater transparency and publication of all relevant data.

NECP lacks detail on network upgrade for RES penetration, producers note

The new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), presented yesterday at an energy ministry event hosted by the Bank of Greece, is not clear enough on details concerning the development of networks and interconnections for further RES penetration, electricity producers have noted.

Network upgrades will be pivotal in the country’s effort to achieve RES targets concerning the replacement of conventional power stations with clean-energy units, producers have stressed.

More details on technical matters and scheduling for network upgrades are necessary, industry officials believe.

Giorgos Peristeris, the chief official at ESIAPE, the Greek Association of Renewable Energy Source Electricity Producers, and Dinos Benroubi, president of ESAI/HAIPP, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, both noted procedures concerning the development of electricity transmission projects, especially licensing, need to be accelerated.

Greece’s installed RES capacity in 2030 has been set at 15 GW, up from approximately 6 GW at present.

Power grid operator IPTO has repeatedly assured it is pushing ahead with studies assessing the needs of the grid based on the NECP’s ambitious RES targets, noting all required projects will be included in its ten-year investment plan covering 2021 to 2030.

IPTO possesses both the technical and financial requirements to develop projects needed, the operator’s administration has stressed.

Upper limit for target model agreements a contentious issue

Imposing an upper limit on day-ahead market bilateral agreements has developed into one of the most contentious issues in the lead-up to the target model.

Opposing views were voiced, once again, last Friday at an IENE (Institute of Energy for Southeast Europe) conference.

Industrial sector officials fear the implementation of a single-digit upper limit, as requested by ESAI/HAIPP, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, would not provide industrial enterprises with enough space to reach agreements with power utility PPC as a means of covering their needs.

Imposing an upper limit on PPC’s forward contracts would cancel out the industrial sector’s accessibility to such products, EVIKEN (Association of Industrial Energy Consumers) board member Antonis Kontoleon told the IENE event.

The imposition of such a limit on PPC should be matched for all vertically integrated players, Kontoleon added.

Such a limit would prevent producers from establishing forward agreements with their own supply firms.

ESAI/HAIPP chief official Giorgos Stamtsis noted that the structure of the Greek market is characterized by the presence of one dominant company with exclusive access to lignite, major-scale hydropower facilities, as well as a very high market shares in the retail market, over 70 percent, as well as the wholesale market.


Independent producers group opposes universal service role

ESAI/HAIPP, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, has raised objections to an energy ministry legislative proposal whose ratification would require the country’s three biggest independent suppliers to share the responsibility of a universal service supplying electricity to blacklisted electricity consumers who can no longer find a supplier as a result of poor payment records at previous companies.

Under the existing regulations, the state-controlled power utility PPC, as the dominant player, is providing this universal electricity supply service to sidelined consumers.

The objective of any revisions should be to correct distortions caused by existing regulations and the way these are implemented by the network operator, a PPC subsidiary, rather than to relay the problem to far smaller competitors, the association pointed out.

The bigger independent suppliers, each currently serving between 150,000 and 200,000 customers, compared to PPC’s far bigger client base numbering 6.5 million to seven million, would be placed under considerable pressure if required to take on this universal electricity supply role, ESAI/HAIPP noted.

Under current rules, the supplier covering this universal service’s needs is theoretically chosen through a competitive procedure. However, all independent suppliers have shunned the process. As a result, the service must, by law, be provided by the dominant player – PPC, at present.

The energy ministry’s draft bill would require the country’s three biggest independent suppliers to share this universal service responsibility if bidders refuse to show up for the competitive procedure.

NOME export revisions ahead, extra power amounts to be cut

The energy exchange, understandably in agreement with RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, plans to revise a NOME auction electricity exports measure to secure NOME prices instead of System Marginal Price (SMP) levels for new customers joining independent electricity suppliers during three-month intermediate periods between auctions.

In a related public consultation procedure held over the past few days, suppliers warned a framework of measures planned by authorities would expose them further to SMP levels and prevent suppliers from broadening customer bases between auctions.

Authorities are also examining ways to maintain rights acquired by suppliers and traders for futures products bought at previous auctions.

In its public consultation procedure intervention, ESAI/HAIPP, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, called for additional measures that could help increase the retail electricity market shares of independent suppliers.

Meanwhile, the energy ministry is planning a legislative revision to abolish a bailout tern requiring the addition of NOME auction electricity amounts in 2019 as a penalty against the main power utility PPC for its failure to meet a market share contraction target set for 2018. This action will be taken assuming PPC sells its Meliti and Megalopoli lgnite-fired power stations included in its bailout-required disinvestment package of lignite units.

According to the bailout term, RAE – this month – was supposed to add approximately 520 MWh/h to 2019’s NOME electricity amount of 1,444 MWh/h. Instead, 520 MWh/h now appears set to be reduced from the year’s NOME tally.

The government and country’s lenders have agreed on a reduction of the NOME auction tally from 22 percent of total consumption to 13 percent if the ongoing sale effort for these two lignite units is completed.



Small offering for next NOME auction prompts reaction

Electricity market players, especially vertically integrated companies, have raised objections to a subdued electricity amount of 240 MWh/h decided on by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for the year’s first NOME auction, scheduled for January 23, as well as the failure, so far, by authorities to decide on export restrictions concerning electricity amounts acquired at these auctions.

The complaints were expressed in a letter forwarded by ESAI/HAIPP (Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers) to RAE, energypress has been informed.

RAE plans to reserve bigger electricity amounts for later in the year, including 604 MWh/h for the year’s final NOME auction, expected in October. The authority is obviously holding back as it awaits the outcome of the main power utility PPC’s bailout-required sale of lignite units, now in progress.

Independent electricity suppliers fear the small quantity decided on for the year’s opening session, combined with Greece’s elevated System Marginal Price (SMP) and higher wholesale electricity prices in Europe, will intensify bidding competition and prompt further NOME price hikes on January 23.

NOME auctions were introduced in Greece over two years ago to offer independent players access to PPC’s lower-cost lignite and hydropower sources for more competitive pricing policies.

Though the European Commission has already provided permission for the implementation of NOME-electricity export restrictions, RAE has yet to reach a decision, despite launching a public consultation procedure on the matter prior to the previous session late last year.

RAE has divided 1,444 MWh/h into four NOME auctions for 2019. The amount represents 22 percent of the country’s total electricity consumption, as stipulated in the bailout agreement, plus 171 MWh/h, the remainder of a penalty addition prompted by PPC’s failure to reach a market share contraction target set for the first half of 2018.

If all goes well with PPC’s sale of the Megolopoli and Meliti power stations included in its bailout-required investment of lignite assets, then the NOME amount will be reduced to represent 13 percent of Greece’s total electricity consumption.

PPC was well over a 62.24 percent market share contraction target set for the end of 2018 and needs to reduce its share to 49.24 percent by the end of this year.


Gaps, ambiguities in national energy and climate plan, association notes

The National Energy and Climate Plan until 2030 is marred by gaps and ambiguities according to ESAI/HAIPP, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, which took part in a public consultation procedure for the plan.

According to ESAI, the national plan needs to carry a dual objective which, on the one hand, must direct the country towards the attainment of EU objectives for greenhouse gas reductions, increased energy efficiency, and RES penetration of the energy mix, and, on the other, transform the national economy’s energy and environment sector into a key catalyst for high growth rates over the next few years, ESAI has pointed out.

The national energy and climate plan presents no change in electricity demand in 2030, compared to current levels, but, at the same time, projects a 30 percent GDP increase between 2016 and 2030 and a 7 percent energy consumption increase during this period, ESAI noted among its observations.



ESAI producers group troubled by interconnection delays

ESAI, the Hellenic Association of Independent Power Producers, locally acronymed HAIPP, remains concerned by power grid operator IPTO’s ten-year plan, despite various improvements, including greater detail, following the association’s intial expression of concern a few months ago.

ESAI is concerned by what it sees as a discoordination issue concerning the wider Athens-Crete electricity system interconnection, a project planned to be finalized by 2023, and the inclusion of Crete’s entire electricty demand into the system in 2025.

The association is also troubled by delays concerning all other interconnection projects to link the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea with the mainland, except for the Paros, Naxos and Mykonos island projects.

The finalization of the interconnection projects concerning these three islands, located relatively closer to the mainland, is expected by 2019.