Ministry dismisses SGCC hiring, pay relaxation request for IPTO

Energy ministry officials have reacted negatively to a request from State Grid International Development, a member of the corporate group State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), for a relaxation of bailout-related recruitment and remuneration terms at power grid operator IPTO, in which the Chinese company is a strategic partner with a 24 percent stake.

An energy-sector draft bill delivered by the ministry includes a plan to relax hiring and remuneration restrictions at power utility PPC and distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, a subsidiary.

These restrictions, resulting from a bailout term imposed on Greek public utilities, increase the Chinese investor’s risk and affect IPTO’s growth prospects, State Grid International Development has complained in a letter received this week by energy minister Costis Hatzidakis and other government officials.

The IPTO investment will be bleak if the Chinese company cannot select and remunerate staff under its own terms, in accordance with its interests, the letter noted.

The Chinese request will not be met, energy ministry officials told energypress, clarifying that a recent decision enabling a relaxation of hiring and payment terms concerns PPC as this utility faces treacherous financial conditions and needs to overcome competitive issues for survival.


SGCC wants relaxation of bailout hiring limits at IPTO

State Grid International Development, a member of the corporate group State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), has sent a clear message to the Greek government calling for a relaxation of recruitment terms at power grid operator IPTO, in which the Chinese company is a strategic partner with a 24 percent stake, noting current hiring restrictions, resulting from a related bailout term imposed on public utilities, increase this investment’s risk and affect its growth prospects.

The Chinese investor wants IPTO included in a draft bill relaxing recruitment terms for the power utility PPC and distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO.

The request was expressed through a letter signed by State Grid International Development chief official Hu Yuhai and received by Energy Minister Costis Hatzidakis, his deputy Gerassimos Thomas, as well as Interior Minister Takis Theodorikakos, according to energypress sources.

The issue had been brought to the attention of the previous Greek government several months before its legislative election defeat in July, the Chinese investor reiterated.

“We consider the situation incomprehensible and somewhat unreasonable when a company the size of IPTO, with support from the strategic investor, is not given the opportunity to select and remunerate its staff in accordance with its rules, serving its interests,” the Chinese firm noted in its letter.

SGCC’s investment and IPTO’s growth prospects will be placed under a state of uncertainty if the Greek power grid operator is not included in the revisions planned for PPC and DEDDIE/HEDNO, the Chinese investor warned, promising fair and transparent recruitment procedures if the restrictions are lifted.


SGCC, winning IPTO bidder, gearing up for massive global energy project

Main power utility PPC’s agreement to sell 24 percent of subsidiary firm IPTO, the power grid operator to SGCC, the State Grid Corporation of China, through its wholly owned subsidiary firm State Grid International Development, could well lead to global prospects well beyond PPC’s intention to penetrate Balkan and other neighboring markets.

PPC’s association with SGCC, the world’s biggest player in international electricity markets, promises to bring the utility in touch, even if indirectly, with the Chinese energy giant’s interest in a Global Energy Interconnection (GEI), a plan entailing the transfer of power production through long-distance interconenctions covering the entire world. For example, power output generated at solar power parks along the equator and at wind-energy parks in the Arctic region, around the North Pole, may be supplied to meet demand in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Though this plan may appear somewhat futuristic, it is being approached as a realistic objective project by SGCC.

The project’s development has been divided into three stages. The first, a preliminary stage entailing the promotion of eco-friendly energy use, is planned to run until 2020. A target of 2030 has been set for the second stage, concerning the completion of interconnection infrastructure and major energy hubs. The aim is for investors to have completed this ambitious project’s third and final stage, entailing the development of major-scale solar facilities along the equator and wind energy parks in the Arctic region, by 2050.

If compeleted, the project is expected to cover 80 percent of global power needs through eco-friendly electricity production. SGCC’s president and CEO Liu Zhenya (photo), has noted that the 2050 completion target and estimated coverage of global electricity needs are both realistic objectives.

According to SGCC estimates, the GEI plan will require roughly 50 trillion dollars to set up. The Chinese giant is currently exploring the prospect of teaming up with co-investors. These include Softbank, Korea Electric Power and Rosetti PJS. The plan has already been presented at the World Economic Forum. SGCC has set up a company named GEIDCO (Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization) to focus on the ambitious project.

Returning to the agreement between PPC and the SGCC subsidiary for IPTO’s 24 percent, it was endorsed yesterday by the Greek utility’s board but still needs to be approved by PPC shareholders at an extraordinary shareholders meeting scheduled for November 24.