Vigilance required, new danger from France expected next week

DESFA, the natural gas grid operator, still apprehensive as a result of the energy warning system’s rise to Level 2 Alert over the past few days, has requested suppliers and gas-fueled electricity producers to submit consumer demand forecasts for the next seven days.

The arrival of an Algerian LNG ship yesterday to Greece’s terminal on Revythousa, an islet just off Athens, helped ease the pressure on the system. A further LNG shipment measuring 110,000 cubic meters is expected on January 20.

Local authorities need to remain vigilant. An electricity demand forecast made for yesterday by IPTO, the power grid operator, was nearly 1,000 MW below actual demand at midday.

ENTSO-E, the European Network of Transmission System Operators, has warned that new issues for European networks are possible as a result of problems expected in France next week.

It remains unclear who will be responsible for covering the cost of the energy crisis experienced. Besides the freezing temperatures, the crisis was primarily caused by market mechanism shortcomings and deficiencies.

As a result of the elevated energy demand in Greece, DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, has been forced to make emergency LNG orders from Algeria, which costs 40 percent more than regular Russian supply. Spot market orders are even more costly, reaching 80 percent above usual levels.

Though DEPA normally charges its buyers accordingly, the corporation absorbed the additional cost entailed during the country’s first energy crisis over the festive season, but this cannot be continued. Consequently, the additional gas import costs will most likely be passed on to gas-fueled electricity producers, industries and households.

Electricity’s System Marginal Price (SMP) has remained low amid the energy crisis because the main power utility PPC, as the dominant supplier, opted to shoulder the bulk of the burden. Subsequently, the low SMP levels encouraged exports and prompted a demand increase for natural gas.