Brussels open to ‘demand response’ extension, commissioner says

The European Commission is open to the prospect of allowing an extension of Greece’s demand response system, a vital energy-cost saving mechanism for the industrial sector that also protects wider energy supply security, as it is considered compatible with EU law, Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition informed a Greek Member of the European Parliament in response to a related question.

Vestager made clear to Greek Euro MP Maria Spyraki that the Greek demand response mechanism does not represent a form of state aid, despite certain claims, and could be extended if the Greek government decides to officially submit such a request.

As equivalent mechanisms are utilized by other EU member states, an extension of Greece’s temporary demand response mechanism is crucial for the sustainability of the country’s energy-intensive industry. Greece’s temporary demand response mechanism is due to expire in October.

The demand response mechanism enables major industrial enterprises to benefit from electricity cost savings in exchange for shifting energy usage to off-peak hours whenever required by the operator.

Besides lowering energy costs for industry and, threfore, increasing industrial competitiveness, the demand response mechanism also offered crucial support to the country’s grid during the recent energy crisis.

Given Vestager’s comments, Greece’s energy ministry will need to show political will and take initiatives leading to the measure’s extension.

Besides a possible extension, Vestager’s remarks also pave the way for the eventual adoption of a fixed mechanism amid the country’s reformed energy market. The European Commissioner for Competition noted that a fixed mechanism could be implemented if any proposal forwarded by the Greek government meets EU regulations and clears state aid concerns.