Lignite-unit grid input rises, re-electrification a challenge

Virtually all of the country’s power generating facilities will be called into action today, even if below full capacity, to help meet grid needs and cover greater demand anticipated as areas disconnected during heavy snowfall over the past couple of days are gradually re-electrified, putting the system to the test.

Officials are confident the country’s power generating facilities will not have problems covering the day’s electricity demand.

According to power grid operator IPTO’s grid schedule, a significant number of lignite-fired power stations – Agios Dimitrios III and IV, Kardia III and IV, and Meliti – will operate today.

Also, given heightened electricity demand levels, expected to reach 8,190 MW, natural gas-fired power stations will be on stand-by for grid entry.

Power utility PPC’s Aliveri V, Lavrio IV and V, Komotini and Megalopoli V, plus a number of independent gas-fuelled units, Heron III, Elpedison’s units in Thessaloniki and Thisvi, and Protergia and Korinthos Power units, will be ready to contribute if needed.

RES output is expected to reach 27.185 GWh, while hydropower output is planned to total 36.132 GWh.

Overall production for the day is expected to reach 166.685 GWh, a lower level compared to yesterday.

Network distribution operator DEDDIE/HEDNO crews are working overtime to repair transmission lines that were damaged by hundreds of collapsing trees during heavy snowfall around the country over the past couple of days. This repair effort could require days to complete.

Some 400 DEDDIE/HEDNO technicians in Athens, bolstered by colleagues brought in from other parts of Greece, are currently working to re-electrify affected areas in the capital.

Blackout threat remains, operator staff shortage exposed

The country’s power transmission and generation systems have met heightened electricity demand prompted by extreme weather conditions, including heavy snowfall around the country over the past couple of days, but the threat of power outages still remains.

The weather system, bringing some of the heaviest snow seen in Greece in years, exposed a personnel shortage at distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, whose medium and low-voltage networks suffered extensive damages caused by collapsing trees.

The operator’s personnel have struggled to cope with the challenge of repairing numerous damaged transmission lines. Approximately 1,000 trees reportedly collapsed onto power lines in Athens, causing power cuts at thousands of homes in the city’s north and east.

Between 500 and 600 experienced technical staff members have left IPTO over the past three years without being replaced, which has left the operator vulnerable to extreme conditions, union members have pointed out.

IPTO crews are currently working around the clock to meet repair demands, while 60 of the company’s technicians stationed in other parts of Greece have been brought into Athens to reinforce crews covering the capital.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas yesterday visited power grid operator IPTO’s national control center where he was updated on the transmission system’s current situation, electricity generation levels, as well as the operator’s projections for the next few days.

“So far, the transmission system has responded well to the challenges of the Medea storm front,” IPTO’s chief executive Manos Manousakis informed the minister. “But the duration of the extreme weather conditions carries dangers,” he added.

Distributor DEDA wants swifter delivery of operator projects

Gas distributor DEDA, covering all areas around Greece except for wider Athens, Thessaloniki and Thessaly, wants gas grid operator DESFA to complete key grid projects six months sooner so that the distributor may proceed with tenders for distribution network expansion projects.

DESFA needs to construct metering/regulating stations in Livadia, central Greece, as well as the Kastoria and Kozani regions in northern Greece.

DEDA called for a swifter delivery of these stations in public consultation staged for DESFA’s ten-year development plan covering 2021 to 2030.

DESFA plans to complete work on the Livadia metering/regulating station in March, 2022. However, DEDA has requested the station’s completion six months earlier, explaining it will not be able to distribute to consumers in the area until the station’s construction has been completed.

DEDA also called for the Kastoria and Kozani stations to be complete six months earlier, citing the same reasons.

In addition, DEDA requested the development of a natural gas compressor station close to the areas of Karpenisi, central Greece, and Amfissa, slightly southeast, to facilitate CNG supply to these regions.

Grid problems exposed by cold weather prompt call for upgrade

Electricity grid deficiencies exposed by cold weather around Greece in recent days have prompted the energy ministry to call for an adjustment of a distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO investment plan being prepared by the operator’s new administration.

Ageing infrastructure accentuated by a lack of investments needed for upgrades required a major mobilization effort for approximately 3,000 low-voltage network repairs.

Over 200 teams of technical experts backed by 30 associated companies with crews totaling some 1,000 persons needed to be deployed to combat the network’s problems.

Energy minister Costis Hatzidakis was obliged to offer his gratitude in a public statement but the urgent need for a network upgrade remains.

The ministry now wants increased investments for the network’s maintenance. The prospective arrival of a strategic partner at DEDDIE/HEDNO, a power utility PPC subsidiary headed for a privatization procedure offering a 49 percent stake, will be crucial in the effort to upgrade the network.

However, the financial support of a new strategic partner is not expected to come through until 2021 or 2022, even if the distribution network operator’s privatization is completed by mid-2020.

Over the past five years, distribution network investments made by the operator have fallen by approximately 40 percent, shrinking to 155.5 million euros in 2018 from 257 million euros in 2014.

 

 

Mati’s swift power restoration signals operator’s ‘transformation’

The swift restoration of electricity supply at fire-ravaged coastal resort Mati, northeast of Athens, following last month’s deadly wildfire, is an example of the customer-oriented approach adopted by DEDDIE/HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, as part of its transformation, the operator has announced.

DEDDIE restored electricity supply at 80 percent of damaged properties within the first week of its effort and completed its restoration mission in a short time period that followed.

To bolster its customer services to affected populations in Mati and the nearby Neos Voutzas and Rafina areas, DEDDIE set up a special mobile office booth that operated seven days a week. Services were also offered by the operator to beleaguered households via a hotline.

Free electricity system inspections at properties were offered as part of the power supply restoration effort. Property owners were free to choose licensed electricians of their choice or pick from a list of professionals catalogued by DEDDIE in association with POSEI, Greece’s electrical contractors federation.