A January 28 date has been set for an appeal filed by gas supplier DEPA Commercial to challenge a 2019 ruling by an Athens Court of First Instance that vindicated an overcharging claim by ELFE (Hellenic Fertilizers and Chemicals), awarding the producer a compensation amount worth 61 million euros.
ELFE was seeking a compensation amount of 302 million euros, arguing DEPA – the gas utility from which DEPA Commercial later sprung forth as a new group entity – overcharged between 2010 and 2015 for supply to the producer’s facility in Kavala, northern Greece, by passing on the increased cost of DEPA’s oil-indexed contract with Gazprom.
Also in 2019, the Athens Court of First had concurrently delivered a separate verdict in favor of DEPA, vindicating the gas company for unpaid receivables owed by ELFE. The producer was ordered to pay a sum estimated between 59.5 and 60 million euros.
In response, ELFE, too, filed an appeal opposing this 2019 decision, the hearing’s date set for September, 2021, sources informed.
Legal sources explained that the two appeals could end up being heard concurrently in September, based on a decision that may emerge from the forthcoming appeal ten days from now. Combining appeal cases is commonly practiced by courts, the sources noted.
If so, the amount of time needed to resolve this legal dispute will be extended, which would impact privatization fund TAIPED’s scheduling of the DEPA Commercial privatization.
TAIPED has set a March deadline for binding offers. This deadline could end up being stretched beyond September.
Should DEPA Commercial’s appeal against ELFE ultimately fail, then other customers of the gas company, primarily electricity producers and industrial enterprises, could also seek compensation amounts for overcharging.
Some pundits have pointed out that electricity producers were probably able to pass on to their customers any cost increase resulting from DEPA’s oil-indexed contract with Gazprom. On the contrary, industries did not have such leeway.