HEDNO €2.2bn investments for 2022-26 feature 139 projects

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO’s five-year investment plan for 2022 to 2026, budgeted at 2.2 billion euros, will focus on digital transformation and modernization, as well as an upgrade of the electricity distribution network and its services, the operator has announced in a text just posted by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for consultation.

The investment plan includes a total of 139 sub-projects, including 71 worth 255.71 million euros for network reinforcement work.

Other entries include 32 sub-projects with a total budget of 437.91 million euros for network replacement and restoration work, as well as 525.22 million euros for the installation of telemetry systems.

Also, a sum of 481 million euros is planned to be used for projects such as the construction of new transmission and distribution sub-stations required, as well as reinforcement of existing such units, prompted by new grid-user connections or a shift in the requirements of existing users, both producers and consumers, following related applications. This category also includes street lighting projects.

 

PPC’s ENEL Romania takeover talks at price under local standards

Power utility PPC appears to have reached an advanced stage in its negotiations with Italy’s ENEL for the acquisition of the latter’s Romanian subsidiary ENEL Romania, the various aspects of the deal said to be at price levels well below Greek market standards.

PPC’s offer for ENEL Romania’s retail division, for example, totaling approximately three million customers, results in a price of less than 90 euros per customer, which is less than half than the cost of recent corresponding acquisitions completed in the Greek market.

Mytilineos’ acquisition of Watt+Volt, an energy supplier with a portfolio numbering 200,000 customers, was worth 36 million euros, or 180 euros per customer.

The ENEL Romania deal’s price concerning networks is also being negotiated at a price level well below the cost of corresponding acquisitions recently completed in Greece. The price paid by Australia’s Macquarie for a 49 percent stake in Greek distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO works out to 20 percent over the level being discussed between PPC and ENEL for ENEL Romania’s networks.

The same goes for the Romanian subsidiary’s renewable energy division. For example, Motor Oil acquired ELTECH Anemos for a figure twelve times its EBITDA, whereas the Romanian subsidiary’s RES portfolio is being negotiated at a price level of less than ten times its EBITDA.

PPC is negotiating a full acquisition of ENEL Romania for a takeover promising to expand the Greek utility’s interests in the Balkans, with the region’s fastest-growing economy as a base.

 

Four entrants make 2nd round of HEDNO smart meters tender

Electricity distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO has shortlisted four of seven first-round participants in a tender offering a lucrative contract for the installation of approximately 7.5 million smart throughout the country, to replace the existing analog meters.

An additional contestant could be added to the list of second-round qualifiers if Swiss company Landis+Gyr is vindicated in a legal case it filed following its failure to reach the second round. A verdict is expected within the next three to four months.

The four bidder through to the tender’s second round are: Itron Spain SLU, the Spanish subsidiary of leading American meters producer Itron, joined by Spain’s ZIV Aplicaciones y Tecnologia SL, a maker of modems and related equipment; the Romanian subsidiary of American meters producer Elster Rometrics SRL, a member of the Honeywell group, along with Intracom SA Telecoms Solutions and Elster Gmbh; Slovenia’s Iskraemeco, with France’s Oracle France SAS; and Greece’s Protasis SA, joined by French company Sagemcom Energy & Telecom SAS, the main supplier of France’s Enedis.

Besides Switzerland’s Landis+Gyr, a multinational with facilities including a factory in Corinth, west of Athens, the two other participants not through to the second round are: Italy’s Gridspertise Srl, which was joined by Bitron Poland Sp Z.oo for the DEDDIE/HEDNO tender; and Denmark’s Netcompany Intarsoft SA – it took over Intrasoft in 2021 – which bid along with Sweden’s Ningbo Sanxing Electric, Poland’s Foxytech Sp Z.o.o, and Vodafone Panafon Hellenic Telecommunications Company SA.

DEDDIE/HEDNO plans to have the upgrade’s 7.5 million or so smart meters installed over a ten-year period. The project is budgeted at 830 million euros.

The new smart meters will provide consumers with real-time information on the kilowatt-hours they use; consumption records, via home devices or web applications; as well as varying supplier tariff levels, all of which will help consumers become more energy-efficient for lower energy costs.

In addition, smart meters will help DEDDIE/HEDNO identify technical problems in the grid, enabling swifter repair of damages.  

Operator decides on 2nd round qualifiers for smart meters

Electricity distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO has shortlisted the second-round qualifiers in a tender awarding a contract for the installation of approximately 7.5 million smart throughout the country, to replace the existing analog meters, energypress sources have informed.

The DEDDIE/HEDNO board yesterday approved the shortlist of second-round qualifiers, roughly one-third of the original field of seven candidates.

The companies disqualified failed to meet procedural requirements or quality standards, the sources noted.

Interested parties faced a mid-June deadline to submit applications to the tender. The operator’s appraisal of first-round applications required considerable time as participants were called upon to clarify various details.

The tender’s first-round participants were: 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.

DEDDIE/HEDNO plans to complete the project by 2030. Its cost is budgeted at 829 million euros. The upgrade will offer immediate benefits, which have been evaluated at 223 million euros in the first year alone, in 2031.

 

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.

 

Subsidies guideline for PV net-metering units in early January

The energy ministry plans to deliver, early in 2023, guidelines concerning a prospective subsidy program offering support to at least 250,000 small-scale solar panel installations by households, farmers and businesses for net metering purposes.

A starting date for applications by interested parties, once the guidelines have been released, has yet to be set. Prospective applicants are expected to be given sufficient time to study the subsidy program’s details before the starting date for applications.

The subsidy program, budgeted at 700 million euros, is expected to offer support for at least 100,000 solar panel installations by households as well as 75,000 installations by small businesses and that many more by farmers.

According to energypress sources, the precise subsidy amounts to be distributed to each of the three categories has yet to be determined.

Government officials have indicated they are planning to offer top-tier subsidies of as much as 60 percent for solar energy project installations combining energy storage systems. Minimum subsidy levels are likely to be as low as 15 percent.

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO has made available capacity for these net-metering PV projects by freeing up 10-MW capacities at each of its sub-stations.

 

 

 

Net-metering PV installation subsidy details by month’s end

The details of a subsidy program concerning small-scale PVs installations for net-metering purposes by households, farmers and businesses will be finalized within the next few days, Alexandra Sdoukou, the energy ministry’s secretary-general, has told the 5th Athens Investment Forum.

Prenotification of the plan, expected to subsidize no less than 250,000 PV installations, will be delivered by the end of November to inform interested parties and also enable improvements if constructive proposals are made.

PV installations for at least 100,000 households, 75,000 small-scale businesses and 75,000 farmers are expected to be subsidized through the forthcoming program.

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO has freed up capacities of 10 MW at each of its substations to facilitate new grid connections to result from the subsidy program’s PV installations.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the subsidy program concerning small-scale PVs installations for net-metering purposes at the Thessaloniki International Fair last September.

 

 

 

Growing number of investors complain about faulty online auction procedure

Investors who were unable to participate, due to technical glitches, in an online procedure staged by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO on October 21 for solar energy unit capacities to help resolve the saturated Peloponnese network have been filing a growing number of complaints.

A variety of online platform issues, including a dysfunctional drop-down menu list, the system’s block of information participants were expected to upload, as well as frequent server disconnections, meant that bidders were unable to submit bids before the procedure’s deadline.

Roof-mounted solar panel application procedure to be simplified

The energy ministry is working on simplifying an application procedure for roof-mounted solar energy systems, ahead of a related subsidy program, by reducing the amount of supporting documents needed by interested parties and shortening the overall process, energypress sources have informed.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had first announced the procedure would be simplified during his speech at the annual Thessaloniki International Fair in early September.

The ministry’s revisions will seek to reduce to a minimum the number of supporting documents needed by applicants and spare them of the need to resort to civil engineers to obtain some of the needed documents.

The aim is to establish an online procedure for applicants. Energy ministry officials are currently collaborating with DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, to finalize the revised list of supporting documents needed as well as the new procedure.

A subsidy program covering as much as 60 percent of the total cost for roof-mounted solar energy systems will soon be offered, Alexandra Sdoukou, the energy ministry’s secretary-general, told the recent Renewable & Storage Forum, staged by energypress.

Supplier consumer shifts grind to virtual halt in 3rd quarter

Consumer shifts from one electricity supplier to another grinded to a virtual halt in the third quarter of this year, independent suppliers gaining a total of just 1,440 household and small-business customers during the three-month period, compared to the previous quarter, data provided by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO has shown.

Power utility PPC, the dominant market player, increased its number of household and small business customers by a 850 in the third quarter compared to the previous quarter.

This means that the individual fluctuations of alternative suppliers were caused by movements between private companies.

At the end of September, independent suppliers represented 1.68 million low-voltage customers, while PPC represented approximately 4.97 million.

Zenith gained the biggest number of customers in the third quarter, the company’s rise exceeding 17,000. Heron, Aerio Attikis and Elpedison also gained customers during this period, 7,700, 4,200 and 2,300, respectively. Volton suffered the greatest loss of customers, 13,600, according to the DEDDIE/HEDNO data.

Protergia topped the list of independent players with approximately 287,000 low-voltage customers, followed by Elpedison (276,000) and Heron (249,000), the DEDDIE/HEDNO figures showed.

 

Solid investment interest for hybrid RES systems on islands

Greece’s non-interconnected islands, not including Crete, require hybrid RES systems with a total capacity of between 80 MW and 100 MW, according to a distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO estimate, announced by an operator official at an energy storage event.

Theodora Patsaka, head of DEDDIE/HEDNO’s Island Management Division, also told the event that investment interest is high for such green projects on non-interconnected islands. Investor applications submitted to the operator – before licensing framework revisions – represent a total of 80 MW, she noted.

Hybrid RES systems promise to resolve a series of issues encountered by DEDDIE/HEDNO as operator of the non-interconnected islands, the official noted. Besides offering energy storage solutions, hybrid RES systems will enable full utilization.

A total of 28 electricity systems on the islands have disparities, such as varying electricity demand levels, Patsaka pointed out, while demand levels on the islands differ greatly in winter and summer, increasing the difficulty and cost of ensuring energy sufficiency all year round, she added.

The energy ministry, as a next step to the European Commission’s approval of an operational support scheme for hybrid RES systems, must now complete a related pricing framework, which will unlock the selection process concerning projects to be installed on respective islands, Patsaka added.

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.

 

‘Stricter enforcement of RES project development plans’

Stricter enforcement of project development schedules for prospective RES units holding connection terms is required, while licenses need to be revoked if project deadlines are not met, power grid operator IPTO deputy president Giannis Margaris has underlined at an energy storage event in Athens.

The official also stressed the need, from now on, for RES units with integrated energy storage facilities, a combination that would enable a greater number of renewable energy projects to be installed and increase the grid’s ability to absorb their output.

As for energy injection restrictions that will be imposed on RES stations and energy storage stations, the IPTO deputy revealed that a relevant study and proposal by the operator will be submitted to the energy ministry within the next few days.

Margaris reiterated the problem of potential saturation faced by the grid, noting Greece’s current installed RES capacity totals 10 GW (5.5 GW – distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, 4.5 GW – IPTO), plus 11.5 GW in connection term offers.

The resulting total sum is nearly 22 GW, while IPTO’s ten-year development plan envisages 28 GW by 2030, including capacity being created on islands through interconnection projects, Margaris explained, adding that the National Energy and Climate Plan puts the grid capacity objective at 25 GW by 2030, meaning just 3 GW of available capacity remains, despite the strong level of investor interest.

 

RAE proceeding with legislative steps for energy storage

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is examining a further step in legislative preparations for energy storage’s induction into the country’s grid, the authority’s president Athanasios Dagoumas has told an IENE (Institute of Energy for Southeast Europe) conference on “Electricity storage and grid management for maximum RES penetration”.

The authority is looking to proceed with an energy storage formula for distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and power grid operator IPTO, concerning energy storage services such as ancillary services and congestion management.

Up until July this year, RAE had issued a total of 337 licenses representing a capacity of 23.5 GW, concerning storage projects, purely, as well as hybrid projects – combining storage with RES – and pumped storage units.

The vast majority of these RAE licenses concern pure storage units and were issued between January, 2021 and July, 2022.

Investors behind the projects have, as a result of newer legislation, been requested to resubmit supporting documents for older licenses in order to have them renewed.

Many of these investors have already provided the necessary documents and are awaiting license renewals, while RAE is believed to be preparing a great percentage of these, sources informed.

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.

Time limit for universal electricity supply service

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has, according to sources, received orders from the energy ministry to impose a time limit on the period consumers can rely on a universal electricity supply service, covering the needs of black-listed consumers reported by suppliers for electricity-bill payment failures.

At present, usage of the universal electricity supply service by consumers with outstanding electricity bills has no limit, but higher tariffs are charged for the 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.

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

RAE has proposed the establishment of a collective debt-flagging system, which would be maintained by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, based on consumer appraisals provided by electricity retailers.

Consumers who continue to not pay electricity bills through the universal electricity supply service will face electricity supply cuts, under the proposed revision.

 

 

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.