Electricity consumers will end up being among the losers, mostly indirectly, as a result of the energy ministry’s measures aiming to protect the RES special account’s sustainability.
Consumers will not get to see any electricity-bill cost benefits to result from reduced public service compensation surcharges (YKO), anticipated following the completion of subsea grid interconnection projects that will enable the closure of power utility PPC’s high-cost, diesel-fueled power stations operating on non-interconnected islands.
Though YKO surcharge reductions will be offered for island grid interconnection project completions, the benefits for consumers will be offset by an increased RES-supporting ETMEAR surcharge included in electricity bills. The ETMEAR surcharge hike is needed to keep afloat the deficit-struck RES special account, paying RES producers for their output.
For decades, electricity supply customers have subsidized the high-cost electricity generated on non-interconnected islands by paying hefty YKO surcharge amounts imposed on electricity bills.
This surcharge has enabled islanders to enjoy electricity supply at price levels equivalent to those offered in Athens, Thessaloniki and, generally, the entire mainland. If island-generated electricity were not subsidized by consumers, nationwide, then the cost of electricity for islanders would have been many times over levels paid on the mainland.
The plan, before the RES account plunged into deficit territory, was to offer electricity consumers YKO surcharge reductions every time an island grid interconnection project was completed.
Officials estimate the Crete-Peloponnese grid interconnection’s launch, expected in 2021, will offer electricity consumers annual public service compensation surcharge savings of 50 million euros. A bigger-scale grid interconnection to link Crete with Athens, scheduled for delivery in 2024, should offer consumers annual YKO savings of 200 million euros. However, as things stand, these savings will be offset by higher ETMEAR surcharges.
In addition, consumers also face network transmission surcharges, to support the development of major-scale subsea grid interconnections.