PPC loses 96,000 low-voltage connections in 3 months

Approximately 96,000 low-voltage consumers left power utility PPC for rival suppliers over a three-month period between April and June, 2020, market data released by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO has shown.

PPC is losing low-voltage connections at a rate of between 30,000 and 40,000 per month, the data showed.

In the third quarter last year, the power utility shed 2.4 percent of its 81.03 percent market share held in 2Q. This loss of PPC customers led to market share gains for all the independent players, the top five enjoying the biggest gains.

A total of 1.38 million low-voltage consumers had switched from PPC to independent suppliers by the end of the third quarter last year, the data showed. This essentially means that PPC was serving 5.39 million low-voltage consumers at the end of the third quarter.

Independent supplier Protergia, a member of the Mytilineos group, ranked first among the independent players in 3Q last year with a market share of 3.36 percent and 228,000 supply connections, the data showed.

Elpedison followed closely behind with a 3.24 percent share and 220,000 supply connections. Heron was ranked third among the independent players with a 2.63 percent share and 178,000 supply connections, followed by Watt & Volt with a 2.39 percent market share and 160,000 connections.

The DEDDIE/HEDNO also showed a large transfer of low-voltage consumers to the universal supply service offered by suppliers, by law, at higher tariffs, to households blacklisted for unpaid electricity bills.

A total of 146,000 universal service connections were recorded in 3Q last year. The market’s top five suppliers are required to offer this universal service to sidelined households.

PPC gains 3% in retail market for November share of 66.3%

Power utility PPC, the retail electricity market leader, gained an entire three percentage points in November, capturing a 66.33 percent share, up from 63.2 percent a month earlier, according to a latest energy exchange report.

The rankings among the market’s independent suppliers remained unchanged but minor market share gains and losses were reported for the month.

Protergia, a member of the Mytilineos group, shed over half a percentage point, dropping from 8.6 percent in October to 7.99 percent in November, but remained at the forefront among the independent suppliers.

Second-placed Heron also retreated slightly, to 6.55 percent in November from 6.97 percent in October, as did Elpedison, ranked third, to 4.67 percent from 5.05 percent.

Next in the rankings, NRG’s market share remained virtually unchanged, ending November at 3.37 percent from 3.38 percent in October.

Watt+Volt followed with a 2.69 share of the retail electricity market, up marginally from 2.67 percent, Volterra was next with 2.37 percent from 2.55 percent, Fysiko Aerio (Attiki GSC) made a slight gain to reach 1.61 percent from 1.48 percent, Zenith upped its share to 1.26 percent from 1.19 percent, Volton improved to 1.13 percent from 1.04 percent, and KEN remained virtually unchanged, at 0.59 percent from 0.6 percent.

Electricity exports increased and imports decreased in November, compared to a month earlier, the energy exchange data showed.

PPC’s business plan for 2021 to 2023 projects a reduction in customers from 6.1 million, last September, to 4.7 million, for a market share of 54 percent.

EU directive for electricity market to bring about changes

Legislation of an EU directive from 2019 concerning electricity market regulations, whose features include establishing consumers as active players through an ability to sell self-produced electricity, and also providing the framework governing smart meter systems, is expected to be one of the energy ministry’s first legislative acts, if not first, in the new year, within the first two months.

Energy minister Costis Hatzidakis has assembled a team of lawmakers to adopt the EU directive as Greek law.

Active consumers selling their electricity output will be able to do so directly, on an individual basis, or through accumulated group representation.

Consumers will also be able to participate in, and benefit from,  flexibility and energy efficiency programs.

In addition, the new rules will enable active consumers to give third parties management rights – without any further powers – over related system installation, operation, maintenance and data management.

Other changes to result from the new rules include giving consumers active pricing policy rights through which agreements between supplier and consumer will reflect fluctuations in the electricity market, including the day-ahead and intraday markets.

Electricity consumer switches reach 285,000 in first half

A total of 285,000 households switched electricity supplier in the first half of 2020, while less than one in eight have made the shift over the past five years, retail electricity market data made available to energypress has shown.

Since 2015, when the retail electricity market was essentially liberalized, 986,000 consumers of 7.58 million in total have switched electricity suppliers, the data showed.

This slow movement has kept power utility PPC’s retail electricity market share at relatively high levels. The corporation held a 67.61 percent share at the end of August, the data showed.

Customers who have taken the decision to switch to independent suppliers have also displayed strong loyalty. Just 144,000 electricity consumers have moved on for a second time during the five past years, according to the data.

Of the 285,000 consumers who switched suppliers in the first half, 208,000 left PPC, while nearly 35,000 ended up with a universal supply service provided by the market’s top five suppliers, at higher tariff rates, to households and small businesses rejected by their regular suppliers for unpaid bills.

 

Retail power prices among EU’s lowest, wholesale prices high

Retail electricity prices in Greece, during the second half of 2019, were among the lowest in the EU, while the country registered the second biggest drop in household electricity cost, down by 5.8 percent during this period, compared to the EU average of a 1.3 percent increase, according to official Eurostat data.

However, Greece’s wholesale price level, or more specifically, day-ahead market price, is one of the highest in south and southeast Europe.

The cost of electricity for households in Greece averaged 155 euros per MWh in the first half of 2019, compared to the EU average of 216 euros per MWh, the Eurostat data showed. The cost of electricity in Greece, including taxes and surcharges, was ranked 21st among the EU-27.

The cost of electricity for enterprises in Greece was below the EU average, placing Greece in 12th place with an average price of 108 euros per MWh compared to the EU’s 117 euros per MWh in the first half of 2019, the Eurostat data showed.

A recent study conducted by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy showed that Greece’s day-ahead market price averaged 41 euros per MWh in the first half of 2019, well over the average of 34 euros per MWh in south and southeast Europe.

Market officials attributed this discrepancy to Greece possessing just a day-ahead market, forcing all electricity amounts to be channeled through this one market. In other parts of the EU, wholesale electricity markets also feature intra-day, forward, balancing reserve and capacity markets. As a result, electricity producers and importers operating elsewhere also retrieve costs from other markets, which is not possible in Greece.

Industrial slowdown seen impacting electricity demand

Electricity consumption level forecasts are bleak as the coronavirus pandemic is now also impacting the country’s energy-intensive industrial sector after devastating the economy’s tourism and retail sectors.

The widening problem will inevitably affect overall demand and the financial results of retail electricity suppliers.

A number of industrial enterprises have suspended their operations. These include steel company Sidenor, which has put a halt on production at five units, as well as four textile firms.

More industrial companies are likely to follow suit as the ongoing lockdown keeps much economic activity grounded. As a result, overall electricity demand is expected to drop considerably over the next few months.

The pandemic’s impact on low-voltage electricity demand has, for the time being, remained subdued. Considerably lower consumption levels in the retail and trade sectors have been offset by higher household demand driven by the government’s stay-at-home orders.

Low-voltage electricity demand in March fell by a level of between one and two percent, according to power grid operator IPTO sources. A sharper decline of approximately five percent is expected in April.

However, sharper drops over the next few months cannot be ruled out, as has been the case in other parts of Europe.

In recent weeks, electricity demand in Italy was down by 20 percent. Belgium recorded a drop of 17 percent, French electricity demand fell by 12 percent and Spain’s drop registered at 10 percent.

 

 

RAE, monitoring market, wants weekly updates from suppliers

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, carefully monitoring the energy market in an effort to offer protection against wider repercussions amid the extraordinary conditions, has requested weekly updates from all the country’s electricity suppliers on their unpaid receivables figures and relay of surcharge collections to distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and power grid operator IPTO, sources have informed.

Suppliers are now receiving letters carrying related instructions. RAE, in an unprecedented move, is requesting details on a variety of matters, which, besides unpaid receivables figures and payment delay periods, include requests for number of customers and energy amounts consumed as well as amounts received for electricity consumption and surcharges.

RAE will use the data collected to offer suppliers greater flexibility for payment of regulated charges. This is expected to include an extension of the current 30-day period to 60 days.

“Any such decision in the electricity market is difficult as it involves tens of millions of euros and has consequences. Therefore, decisions cannot be made without documentation and putting figures into context with actual market data,” a highly ranked RAE official told energypress. “From the data we collect from suppliers, we will see what the urgent needs are and then determine if further improvements are needed,” the official added.

The energy ministry, also considering the collection of data a necessary move, is coordinating its efforts with RAE.

 

Customer shifts from PPC to independent suppliers over 1M

Nearly 1.1 million electricity consumers have left power utility PPC for an independent supplier, latest market data has shown.

Besides considerable penetration into the mid-voltage market, independent suppliers are now making further gains in the low-voltage category serving households and businesses.

Approximately ten of the Greek market’s twenty or so independent suppliers represent the overwhelming majority of these 1.1 million electricity consumers who have left PPC. Three of these suppliers, vertically integrated, also operate natural gas-fueled power stations.

Independent suppliers represent approximately 16 percent of the country’s 7.57 million power meters. PPC remains the dominant player with control of 6.36 million power meters.

Electricity market competition has intensified over the past two or so years, as highlighted by the increased number of customer shifts from one supplier to another. Customer mobility nearly doubled in 2019 compared to a year earlier, rising from 338,000 to 627,000 customers.

According to data provided by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, 226,779 customers opted to switch electricity supplier during the first half of 2019.

Market officials have linked this mass movement with tariff increases at PPC.

PPC officials contend the company’s outflow of customers slowed down during the final quarter of 2019, noting some consumers have chosen to return to the power utility following short spells at independent suppliers.

Competition is expected to keep intensifying. PPC is preparing to offer new products around spring.