HEDNO plans 800-MW network boost to facilitate RES projects

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO is planning a series of significant network upgrades to facilitate new RES project additions to the grid through the availability of an additional 800-MW capacity over the next few years.

Many of these network upgrades, set to commence, are investments that will be co-funded by Greece 2.0, the National Recovery and Resilience Facility.

DEDDIE/HEDNO stands to receive 30 million euros from the RRF for capacity upgrades at selected medium and high-voltage substations around the country, either through transformer additions or full replacements.

Many of the operator’s prospective network upgrades are expected to be completed over the next 12 months, energypress sources have informed. All operator upgrades inducted into the RRF are planned to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2025.

The capacity of substations in the Peloponnese and Epirus regions is planned to be boosted by 250 megavolt-amperes, the wider Athens area will get a 100-MVA boost, substations in central Greece are expected to receive a 200-MVA lift, while substations in the country’s Macedonia and Thrace regions are headed for a 250-MVA capacity boost.

Seven international players meet smart meters tender deadline

A total of seven major international players have expressed non-binding, first-round interest in a new tender staged by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO for procurement and installation of digital power meters around the country.

The operator launched this new tender after its previous procedure, launched eight years ago, ended up being brought to a standstill by legal battles fought between rival bidders.

The seven companies that met the new procedure’s first-round deadline, which expired last Friday following five extensions granted to interested parties, are: US-based Itron; Switzerland’s Landis+Gyr; Elster, now a member of international group Honeywell; Protasis, a Greek firm operating in Greece as a representative of French company Sagemcom; Slovenia-based Iskraemeco; Gridspertise, founded in 2021 by Italian group Enel to market the group’s smart network technology; and Intrasoft International, which became a member of Danish-headquartered IT group Netcompany last year.

First-round offers are planned to be opened at midday today, setting in motion their appraisal.

The project, entailing the installation of approximately 7.5 million smart meters in Greece, is expected to be completed in 2030 and its budget is estimated at 830 million euros.

 

Smart meter first-round tender deadline extended until Friday

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO has extended, until this Friday, the first-round deadline of its new tender concerning procurement and installation of digital power meters around the country.

The operator decided on the extension, the fifth to be offered to interested parties since the tender’s launch earlier this year, following requests made by major players, believed to be interested in the project.

The project, entailing the installation of approximately 7.5 million smart meters, is expected to be completed in 2030 and its budget is estimated at 830 million euros.

American, European and Asian firms are said to be interested. At least seven major international players are reportedly considering DEDDIE/HEDNO’s tender for smart meters in Greece. These are: US company Honeywell, Germany’s Siemens, France’s Schneider Electric, the UK’s Sagemcom, Italy’s Itron, Slovenia’s Iscra Emeco and Switzerland’s Landis+Gyr, which has transferred its production lines to the factory of its Greek subsidiary in Corinth, west of Athens.

A number of these candidates are expected to establish partnerships with Greek companies for the DEDDIE/HEDNO tender.

DEDDIE/HEDNO launched this new tender after its previous procedure, launched several years ago, was eventually brought to a standstill as a result of legal battles between rival bidders.

Shipping sector developing offshore wind farm interest

The shipping industry, domestic and foreign, is expressing growing investment interest for offshore wind farms and is awaiting the emerging sector’s regulatory framework to develop such projects in Greek sea territory, energypress sources have informed.

Though plans are still nascent, a considerable number of shipping companies and shipowners are already in talks with consultants for related feasibility studies.

Conditions for shipping industry players are favorable. Their earnings have skyrocketed amid abnormal market conditions, worldwide, ever since the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020. These higher earnings have generated additional capital for investment, prompting shipowners to consider the potential of offshore wind farms.

Anticipating strong growth in this emerging sector, metals production group Viohalco plans to proceed with an investment estimated to be worth 70 and 100 million euros, which, through subsidiary Cenergy Holdings, will merge the knowhow of group members Hellenic Cables and Corinth Pipeworks for the establishment of the world’s first industrialized unit for floating wind turbines.

Norway’s Equinor, the world’s biggest developer of offshore wind farms, has already expressed interest to develop projects in Greece, proposing an area between the Cyclades islands of Tinos, Syros and Mykonos.

In addition, TERNA Energy has reached an agreement with Ocean Winds, a partnership between EDP Renewables and Engie, for co-development of offshore wind farms offering a 1.5-GW capacity. Also, Mytilineos has reached an agreement with Denmark’s Copenhagen Offshore Partners. Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) is currently engaged in talks with a major foreign company and Motor Oil has signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar).

Power utility PPC is currently involved in talks with at least five foreign companies, including Australia’s Macquarie, which recently acquired a 49 percent stake in PPC subsidiary DEDDIE/HEDNO, Greece’s distribution network operator. PPC is also believed to be in talks with American fund Quadum.

The Copelouzos group has joined forces with RF Energy to establish Aegean Offshore Wind Farms, a company planning to develop offshore parks offering an 850-MW capacity.

Greek shipowners own 5,514 ships, controlling 32 percent of the world’s tankers, 25 percent of bulk carriers and 22 percent of LNG carriers, the latter category being crucial for Europe’s effort to end its reliance on Russian natural gas.

 

Freeze on new RES connection terms throughout Greece

An energy ministry draft bill for a second round of RES licensing simplification measures will freeze, throughout Greece, RES grid connection applications accepted as well as connection terms that would otherwise be offered by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO for pending new RES projects until RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has approved the operator’s plan for a grid capacity increase.

However, even when this grid capacity boost is approved by RAE, very few RES projects will be able to make progress as a minimal number of existing substations currently have minimum capacities of 10 MW, a draft bill prerequisite for distribution of capacity percentages concerning grid connections of small and medium-sized projects.

RAE does not face any time limits for its approval of the grid capacity boost. Officials fear the delay could last months. Until RAE’s approval, DEDDIE/HEDNO will only accept RES project applications and offer connection terms for net-metering systems, virtual net-metering as well as roof-mounted solar panels.

PPC low-voltage customer loss continues slowdown in 4Q ’21

Power utility PPC’s number of departing household and business consumers slowed down in the fourth quarter of 2021 to a total of 37,000, from 47,000 in the previous quarter, market data released by DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, has shown.

PPC’s decreased number of departing customers in the low-voltage category, a trend that was sustained throughout 2021, especially since the beginning of the energy crisis, highlights the power utility’s pricing policy, which includes discounts.

During the second quarter of 2021, PPC lost 70,000 low-voltage customers, while the company’s customer loss in the first quarter of last year was approximately 100,000.

As a result, independent electricity suppliers attracted a diminishing number of new customers from quarter to quarter last year.

The country’s independent electricity suppliers attracted a total of 67,500 low-voltage customers in the third quarter of 2021, down from 85,000 in the second quarter and 103,000 in the first quarter.

PPC’s low-voltage customers totaled 5.02 million at the end of 2021, down from 5.06 million at the end of the third quarter. Independent suppliers represented 1.66 million suppliers at the end of 2021, up from 1.61 million at the end of the third quarter.

Reduced supplier guarantees to operators being examined

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, looking for ways to ease the cashflow pressure felt by electricity suppliers in the energy crisis, is considering to reduce the level of guarantees they need to forward to the country’s operators – power grid operator IPTO, RES market operator DAPEEP, and distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO – by revising a formula that determines these guarantee amounts.

However, certain independent, non-vertically integrated electricity suppliers remain apprehensive, fearing such a move could ultimately further increase the market strength of bigger rivals and push smaller players further aside.

At this stage, RAE is involved in talks with the market operators in an effort to determine if leeway exists for a reduction of the guarantees provided by suppliers.

RAE’s Aggeliki Mourtzikou, Director of the Wholesale Energy Markets Department, told the recent energypress Power and Gas Forum that the authority is moving carefully so that any intervention does not result in the creation of deficit figures whose side effects in the market could outweigh any short-term benefits concerning supplier cashflows.

The number of consumers seeking installment-based payment arrangements for energy bills has risen sharply, severely impacting the cashflow of suppliers.

Operators coordinate for swifter RES connection terms

Power grid operator IPTO and distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO have begun coordinating by exchanging information on available grid transmission and distribution network capacities, respectively, in an effort to accelerate connection terms offered to RES facilities.

At present, IPTO and DEDDIE/HEDNO are struggling to keep up with a flood of applications submitted by RES investors for connection terms.

The two operators have formed a working group which has already held one session involving the participation of RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

It was agreed that the two operators need to establish better pictures of available capacities concerning the grid transmission and distribution networks.

Taking into account all grid expansion projects included in the ten-year investment plans of IPTO and DEDDIE/HEDNO, as well as national and transboundary grid interconnection plans, plus anticipated energy storage projects, the country’s RES capacity will reach a maximum of 28.5 GW in 2030. RES investor applications submitted so far are estimated to already exceed this sum by 10 GW.

RES project applications over 2030 limit, halt considered

RES investor applications submitted to power grid operator IPTO for connection terms concerning wind and solar energy facilities already greatly exceed the grid’s planned capacity for 2030, by 10 GW, taking into account prospective grid infrastructure upgrades.

This excess capacity has prompted the energy ministry to consider suspending the submission of any new applications until authorities have found solutions to manage the accumulation of project applications already submitted.

IPTO has completed its assessment of applications concerning 2020 and has offered connection terms to successfully applicants.

The operator is now preparing to process applications lodged in 2021 and during the first quarter of 2022.

The current total capacity of RES projects, either already operating or which have received connection terms up until the end of 2020, is 19.6 GW.

Applications submitted in 2021 and so far in 2022, all of which need to be evaluated, represent a total capacity of 19 GW.

Greece’s updated National Energy and Climate Plan has projected an installed RES capacity of 25 GW by 2030.

Taking into account all grid expansion projects included in the ten-year investment plans of IPTO and DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, as well as national and transboundary grid interconnection plans, plus anticipated energy storage projects, the country’s RES capacity will reach a maximum of 28.5 GW in 2030.

 

Subsidy returns to power, gas suppliers currently trapped

A sum estimated at one billion euros, which should, by now, have been transferred by the Greek State to energy suppliers as compensation for subsidies they have offered to households and businesses on its behalf, remains trapped in the coffers of DAPEEP, the RES market operator, as a result of rule ambiguities and errors, sources have claimed in comments to energypress.

This amount, planned to cover subsidy-related payments made by electricity and natural gas suppliers for January, February as well as March, is stuck at DAPEEP as three ministerial decisions issued last month, which define the framework for electricity and gas bill subsidies offered to household consumers, businesses and farmers, as well as subsidy clearance procedures enabling payments to suppliers, contain ambiguities and mistakes, the sources told energypress following its related report on payment delays faced by energy suppliers.

As a result of these ministerial decisions, DAPEEP has been called upon to check whether subsidy amounts covered by suppliers from their own funds on behalf of the Greek State are correct, the sources said.

In essence, the operator has been asked to cross-examine whether consumers who were subsidized were eligible for the support, restricted to primary residence only, and whether other eligible parties ended up not receiving subsidies.

DAPEEP is not in a position to perform this task alone as the RES market operator needs to cross-examine its figures with those of DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, and IPTO, the power grid operator, for which it does not have access, the sources explained.

Electricity market unprotected from consumers with arrears

The country’s electricity market has been left without rules preventing consumers with power bill arrears from switching suppliers as a deliberate tactic to avoid payments.

A regulatory framework that would prevent consumers with arrears from switching suppliers has yet to be ratified, despite many months of deliberation.

Also, suppliers are now unable to request electricity supply interruptions for departing customers with arrears as a result of a revision made earlier this month to a related online platform managed by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO.

Sector officials have warned the absence of regulations offering suppliers protection against consumers with arrears could lead to a drastic increase in the number of consumers switching from one supplier to another, without repercussions, as a means of avoiding payments.

The energy ministry, which has hesitated to act, has been in possession of a related proposal from RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for several months now, following three rounds of consultation staged by the authority, the most recent round held eight months ago.

Changes at HEDNO, Macquarie 49% acquisition taking effect

Administrative restructuring has begun taking place at distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO as Australian company Macquarie Asset Management’s 49 percent acquisition of the operator from Greek power utility PPC is set to take effect at the end of this month.

Macquarie officials commence work on February 28, when the shareholders’ agreement signed with PPC comes into effect.

According to sources, HEDNO’s seven-member board, which includes a workers’ representative, will step down, as part of the agreement. Company president Nikolaos Bakatselos informed of his intention to resign from his HEDNO post at the operator’s most recent board meeting, the sources added.

However, the current chief executive Anastasis Manos is expected to be reappointed for the operator’s top administrative post, sources said.

According to the shareholders’ agreement, a new eleven-member board will be established, with Macquarie holding four seats. PPC, controlling six seats, will maintain the right to appoint the chief executive, while a workers’ representative will occupy the new board’s eleventh seat.

Bakatselos, also president of the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce, has decided to hasten his departure as a result of additional commitments at the Pyramis group and its upcoming relaunch of a new Pitsos home appliances production facility in Oinofyta, northwest of Athens, sources informed.

PPC officials have spoken highly of their collaboration with Bakatselos as HEDNO president.

 

 

Electricity market pushed to its limits by widespread debt woes

The country’s electricity market is under severe pressure, being pushed to its financial limits by a chain effect of unfavorable events, namely serious cash-flow issues faced by suppliers, increasing overdue amounts owed by thousands of consumers to suppliers, as well as greater surcharge debt owed by the latter to electricity network operators and municipalities.

This concerning picture was presented in detail yesterday by two market operators, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and RES market operator DAPEEP, to the board at RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, with energy minister Kostas Skrekas also participating.

Teleconferences were also staged with a number of electricity suppliers for discussions on their delays in relaying surcharges collected through electricity bills to network operators and municipal administrations.

Older surcharge amounts owed by suppliers, up until October, 2020, have led to payback arrangements equally dividing these amounts to letters of guarantees and monthly installments. Most of these commitments are being honored by the suppliers.

However, newer debt issues have emerged through the current energy crisis, beginning last autumn.

According to energypress sources, suppliers owe a total amount of 50 million euros to DAPEEP, a little under 10 million euros to power grid operator IPTO, and over 200 million euros to DEDDIE/HEDNO.

Much of the sum owed to DEDDIE/HEDNO has been covered by letters of guarantee issued by suppliers, following a related revision made by the energy ministry last August.

 

Supplier surcharge relay delays to operators on RAE agenda

Details of accumulated electricity-bill surcharge payment delays by electricity suppliers to market operators will be examined at a RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) board meeting tomorrow to involve the participation of three market operators, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, power grid operator IPTO and RES market operator DAPEEP.

The progress of agreements concerning installment-based payments by electricity suppliers to operators for overdue surcharge amounts totaling 347 million euros up until October, 2020 will be on tomorrow’s agenda.

Suppliers owing this surcharge amount have faced penalties for their delays. The suppliers reached agreements to cover 50 percent of surcharge amounts owed with letters of guarantee and settle the remainder through installments over periods ranging from 8 to 10 months.

Besides updates on older surcharge amounts owed by suppliers, the three operators, at tomorrow’s RAE meeting, will also be asked to provide details on more recent unpaid surcharges, especially amounts concerning 2021.

According to RAE officials, a total of 12 electricity suppliers have fallen behind on surcharge payments since October, 2020, leading to an accumulated amount, since that month, of approximately 250 million euros. This figure remains unconfirmed. Tomorrow’s meeting will offer a clearer picture.

In addition, the failure of suppliers to relay municipal-related surcharges, currently worth a total of between 60 and 70 million euros, to municipalities will also be discussed at tomorrow’s RAE board meeting. In some cases, these delays have stretched for periods of up to 18 months.

This issue was discussed at a meeting yesterday between energy minister Kostas Skrekas and representatives of the Central Union of Greek Municipalities (KEDE), who called for a revision that would require electricity suppliers to relay surcharge amounts to municipalities within two months.

 

New warning from operator, owed over €120m by suppliers

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO is preparing to reiterate a warning to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, highlighting unpaid receivables owed to the operator by the country’s electricity suppliers, owing, according to sources, more than 120 million euros.

The operator is expected to deliver a letter to the authority within the next few days that will provide details on respective amounts owed by suppliers, identify suppliers who are allegedly breaching payment rules on a regular basis, and also inform on the action the operator is preparing to take.

This latest warning from DEDDIE/HEDNO will be the second to be delivered to RAE this month. The operator had issued a first warning last October, while the issue was still nascent.

According to market regulations, RAE has the power to remove suppliers from the country’s registry of suppliers if they do not meet their financial obligations.

Smaller suppliers could find themselves in trouble as January’s further increase in electricity price levels could prompt a greater number of payment delays by consumers and, by extension, payments of surcharges by suppliers to operators.

At present, suppliers, both vertically integrated and not, are under cash-flow pressure as they anxiously await electricity bill payments by consumers.

Consultation for non-interconnected island RES capacities

Studies conducted by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO on RES station and hybrid unit capacities for non-interconnected islands have just been forwarded for consultation by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

These studies are necessary for the development of a new RES support framework for hybrid units on islands, now being prepared by the government.

Auctions to be held will cover separate regions, while capacities offered will be based on new RES penetration levels.

Maintenance of current capacity figures has been recommended for Samos (7 MW), Lesvos (16 MW) and Chios (10 MW). Elsewhere, new capacity levels have been proposed for Santorini (4.6 MW), Serifos (240 kW) and Patmos (748 kW).

Outage compensation today, 2 or 4-month surcharge removal

The details of compensation to be offered to many thousands of consumers affected by power outages during and following last week’s snowstorm, particularly felt in the wider Athens area’s northeastern section, are expected to be announced today.

The removal of network usage surcharges included on electricity bills, for either two or four months, is seen as the likeliest offer.

The network usage surcharge imposed on limited electricity consumption of 1,000 kWh over a four-month period, for example, is estimated at 22 euros. A higher consumption level of 3,000 kWh would result in a network usage surcharge of 48 euros.

The compensation offer was initially planned to be announced yesterday, but related talks between the energy ministry and distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO stretched late into the night. Officials are believed to have deliberated on whether to scrap network usage surcharges, for affected consumers, for two or four months.

Approximately 200,000 people in 40 municipalities of the wider Athens area were impacted by the outages during the snowstorm, while electricity supply was restored in 97.5 percent of all cases 24 hours later, according to data submitted to parliament by energy minister Kostas Skrekas.

Net metering solution for homes, businesses promoted

The energy ministry is working on a plan to promote net metering for households and businesses by resolving a current lack of distribution network capacity for this give-and-take electricity solution, the objective being to protect consumers from high electricity prices.

The ministry’s plan will entail reserving a proportion of distribution network capacity around the country for net metering, exclusively, to be made available for households and businesses.

This network capacity reservation solution for net metering will also be valid for areas where net metering applications are low or presently non-existent.

As part of the effort, the energy ministry has asked the distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO to prepare an online platform specifically for net metering applications.

The network capacity shortage for net metering has been more acute for businesses, many of which have had applications rejected by the operator as a result of this lack of space.

An increasing number of enterprises are turning to net-metering solutions as a means of reducing their energy costs in the long term.

 

IPTO, HEDNO form working group for RES connection term coordination

Power grid operator IPTO and distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO have agreed to form a working group, with participation from RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, following a meeting initiated by the authority to seek solutions for further acceleration of connection terms offered to new RES stations through better coordination between the operators.

The three entities agreed that each operator must have a clearer picture of total available network capacity, both for transmission and distribution.

At the meeting, both IPTO and DEDDIE/HEDNO stressed that they have been working at a faster pace over recent years, in response to an increased inflow of RES connection applications.

In 2021, IPTO offered connection terms to 1,346 prospective RES projects representing a total capacity of 3,046 MW, five times more the total capacity of 620 MW it offered for RES connection terms concerning 43 RES projects in 2015.

Also, RES stations given the green light to enter the transmission network in 2021 increased by 310 percent, compared to the previous year.

Between 2015 and 2021, 1,673 RES stations representing a total capacity of 7.86 GW have secured access to the grid, data has shown.

 

Operator identifies 4 issues after latest snowstorm lessons

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO has identified four areas requiring action following its battle, last week, to restore power supply in many areas impacted by a heavy snowstorm, whose effects were particularly felt in the northeastern section of the wider Athens area.

A more aggressive tree-cutting policy, in cases posing a threat to power lines, is one of the four necessary moves named by the operator, who had recently cleared trees close to grid infrastructure in 18 parts of the wider Athens area prior to last week’s extreme weather system.

The operator was only given authority recently, on December 23, to cut trees deemed to pose a threat to the grid.

The operator also believes its telecommunication system requires a further upgrade, while also pointing out the need for better coordination between municipal and regional authorities, as well as the notable absence of real-time monitoring and swift identification of trouble spots, which would have been possible had smart meters been installed to households around the country.

Outages that lasted as long as several days for thousands of households would have been limited to just a few hours had smart meters replaced conventional power meters still being used in Greece.

DEDDIE/HEDNO announced a new tender in mid-December for the procurement and installation of digital power meters and related systems around the country after its previous tender, launched several years ago, was eventually brought to a standstill as a result of legal battles between rival bidders.

 

Small-scale solar energy project interest declines

RES project applications submitted to distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO by small to medium-sized investors have dropped dramatically over the past year, following a surge in interest, subdued by lower tariffs offered for green energy, a rise in the cost of RES equipment purchases, as well the increased incidence of connection-term application rejections by the operator.

The biggest decrease in applications concerns the solar energy sector as the aforementioned factors only just make smaller-scale PV investments feasible and far less attractive prospects than in the past.

Applications submitted to DEDDIE/HEDNO concern RES projects that are to be connected to the low and medium-voltage networks and which have capacities of up to 8 MW.

It is the first time such a dip in solar project applications has occurred since a resurgence in investment interest early in 2018.

According to data provided by SPEF, Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers, for an energypress survey, 98 percent of RES project applications submitted to DEDDIE/HEDNO between 2018 and 2021 concerned solar energy systems, 78.2 percentage of these with capacities of up to 500 kW and 98.5 percent with capacities of up to 1 MW.

 

Number of households without electricity now down to 1,000

The number of households still without electricity following a heavy snowstorm earlier in the week has been narrowed down to less than 1,000, according to a latest update from energy minister Kostas Skrekas in a television interview.

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO’s response to network damages, mostly in the wider Athens area’s northeastern section, has been far more effective than the effort made last winter to fix extensive damages following a heavy snowstorm, the energy minister told Antenna TV.

Households without electricity are now down to less than 1,000 from 200,000 on Monday, the minister noted, acknowledging the problems people have needed to persevere, while adding that all issues should be entirely resolved by midday today.

Coordination between DEDDIE/HEDNO and municipalities has been effective, which helped resolve 95 percent of issues over a 48-hour period, the minister noted.

HEDNO relaunches delayed tender for smart meters

A new tender for the procurement and installation of digital power meters and related systems around the country, essential for monitoring and swift pinpointing of technical problems, as the latest extreme weather conditions have highlighted, is being prepared for launch by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO after its previous tender, launched several years ago, was eventually brought to a standstill as a result of legal battles between rival bidders.

The operator has now started the procedure from scratch and prepared a new tender for the procurement and installation of 7.7 million smart meters, to gradually replace the country’s existing conventional meters over a five-year period.

DEDDIE/HEDNO invited prospective bidders to express interest in an announcement released in mid-December, energypress sources have informed.

The contract will include procurement and installation of point-to-point communication technology, an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system, as well as a meter data management (MDM) system.

The new tender will consist of two stages, a preliminary stage shortlisting bidders and a second stage for submission of financial and technical offers by participants.

Contracts for the smart meters and AMI system will be offered to up to three winning bidders, while the MDM system contract will be offered to one of these three.

 

Thousands still without power, smart meters a notable absence

Some 3,000 households, mostly in the wider Athens area’s northeastern section, are estimated to remain without electricity following a heavy snowstorm that peaked in the region Monday, leaving approximately 200,000 households powerless, according to a latest estimate this morning.

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO crews are continuing repair work on four main lines, pending issues mainly concerning supply to the capital’s northeastern areas Kato Souli, Grammatiko, Schinia and Pikermi, as well as a smaller number of isolated cases.

Late last night, between 5,000 and 10,000 households were still without electricity, while, early yesterday, approximately 200,000 households were powerless. In some cases, residents in areas just 12 kilometers from the center of Athens needed to persevere without power for at least 36 hours.

Consumers have, understandably, lodged numerous complaints. Besides faulty planning and the responsibilities of authorities, the absence of smart meters was sorely missing, once again, as was the case with a heavy snowstorm last winter.

Smart meters offer a real-time picture on damages, serving as a type of radar that pinpoints network damages that enables technical crews to immediately focus on trouble spots rather than search and work haphazardly.

This explains why DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, relies on consumer updates to locate areas without low-voltage supply, a backwards need in the digital era.

Following many delays, the installation of smart meters at households around the country is now estimated to begin late this year.

 

Operator batting to restore power supply after snowstorm

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO’s entire workforce is working around the clock to restore energy supply to areas without power or experiencing outages as a result of network damages caused by a heavy snowstorm that hit many parts of the country from early yesterday, including the wider Athens area.

The operator is striving to restore supply by tonight in affected areas in order to limit outages for households, including vulnerable groups, and avoid a second night without electricity.

It is a challenging task as access to some affected areas, especially in remote areas, has been limited by roads covered in snow.

A snowstorm that hit Greece last winter, during the month of February, had left a considerable number of households without power for as many as five days. Such drama cannot yet be ruled out on this occasion.

Last night, numerous electricity supply cuts were reported in many parts of Athens, especially the north and areas on the northern outskirts.

DEDDIE/HEDNO has urged the public to stay away from any network damages spotted, such as fallen power lines and broken utility poles, and instead immediately inform the operator via the hotlines 11500, 2111900500, the MyDEDDIE app on Android and iOS on mobile phones, or the deddie.gr website.

 

Authorities on alert to counter snowstorm impact on country’s grid

The government and market operators are on high alert to counter, as effectively as possible, the impact on the grid of heavy snowfall around the country over the next few days.

Severe snowstorms last winter had led to network damages and outages over a number of days in a various parts of Greece, including the wider Athens area.

The government, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, power grid operator IPTO and gas grid operator DESFA are all on stand-by as the weather system, dubbed Elpida, moves in, bringing heavy snowfall.

The energy sector is well prepared to ensure energy sufficiency during the snowstorm’s anticipated rise in energy demand, authorities have noted.

Pipeline natural gas and LNG reserves at DESFA’s Revythoussa islet terminal just off Athens are sufficient to cover heightened demand during the adverse weather, officials have noted.

Total energy demand for today is forecast to reach 171,775 MWh, of which 58,825 MWh is expected to be provided by renewables, 94,606 MWh by natural gas-fueled power stations and 13,290 MWh by hydropower units.

Four lignite-fired power stations, Agios Dimitrios II, III IV and Meliti, are currently operating, while independent natural gas-fueled power stations operated by Heron, ENTHES, Thisvi, Protergia and Corinth Power are also generating for the grid.

DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, has announced a new hotline (800 400 4000) to which consumers can report any network damages.

 

Measure to spare suppliers of interest payments to operators

A legislative revision prepared by the energy ministry will be designed to spare suppliers of having to pay interest on overdue amounts owed to operators as a result of unpaid receivables.

Suppliers will only need to pay interest on overdue amounts owed to operators in cases where court verdicts have ruled for the inclusion of interest payments.

The amendment concerns payments by power suppliers to power grid operator IPTO, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and DAPEEP, the RES market operator.

 

PPC cuts operator, contractor debt by €800m in 2 years

Power utility PPC has settled most of its outstanding debt owed to operators and contractors, reducing the amount from 900 million euros in 2019 to 70 million euros at present, the figure with which the corporation expects to end the year, energypress sources have informed.

During the country’s ten-year recession, prior to the pandemic, PPC’s debt owed to operators and contractors had peaked at nearly one billion euros.

The corporation now owes 50 million euros to contractors and 20 million euros to the three market operators – DAPEEP, the RES market operator; IPTO, the power grid operator; and DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator – latest company data has shown, the sources noted.

Besides benefitting PPC, which, for years, was embroiled in a series of legal battles with operators, contractors and equipment suppliers, the debt reduction is also helping offer market stability.

Other suppliers have had difficulties keeping up with payments to operators during the energy crisis and its narrower profit margins. If PPC, the dominant supplier, was also delaying its payments to operators at present, the energy market may have been in an unstable condition.

The total amount currently owed by electricity suppliers to the market operators is estimated at 350 million euros, making PPC’s 20 million-euro owed just a fraction of the sum.

 

DEDDIE plans 650 MW network capacity boost for RES units

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO has announced a tender for the procurement of 15 transformers needed for a 650-MW network capacity boost that would facilitate new RES units, a project budgeted at 21.24 million euros.

According to sector officials, the installation of transformers to existing substations represents a solution that would offer the distribution network an immediate capacity increase and enable the addition of new RES units.

It is estimated that no more than 12 months would be required to install the needed transformers, whereas the replacement of substations with new, upgraded facilities would take far longer and cost significantly more. Also, the licensing procedure for environmental permits concerning installation of transformers is far swifter that it used to be.

Substations in northern Greece’s west Macedonia region will be given priority, sources informed.

 

Supplier overdue payments to operators reaches €350m

Overdue payments owed by energy suppliers to the country’s market operators have been on the rise since summer, now exceeding 350 million euros, a development that has prompted the government to consider implementing an installment-based payment schedule as part of the solution.

The sharp increase in wholesale electricity prices over recent months has had a severe affect on the cash flow of suppliers, putting them under major financial pressure.

However, it should be pointed out that the majority of this 350 million-euro amount owed by suppliers to operators concerns the power utility PPC and includes a considerable amount owed from long before the current energy crisis.

Power grid operator IPTO, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, and RES market operator DAPEEP are all owed sums by the country’s suppliers.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is now considering a three-part solution entailing:  provision of letters of guarantee by suppliers to the operators, to prevent any further rise of the debt owed; immediate deposits covering 50 percent of amounts owed, either in cash or through bank guarantees representing equivalent amounts; and settlement of the remaining 50 percent through an installment-based schedule of between 8 to 12 payments, depending on respective agreements.