Dropped from talks, ‘Little PPC’ case will reappear in court

A demand by the country’s lenders for the part-privatization of the main power utlity PPC has been withdrawn from the negotiating table following the measure’s rejection by Greek officials, but the matter is expected to reemerge at the EU General Court.

Just yesterday, the European Commissioner for Climate Action & Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, noted the Greek energy market continues to be plagued by a lack of competition, prompting higher electricity prices for consumers in Greece, compared to other parts of the EU. He was responding to a question by Greek Euro MP Maria Spyraki, hailing from the main opposition conservative New Democracy party.

The European Commission had originally filed a suit against Greece in 2008 as a result of PPC’s exclusive access to the country’s lignite sources. The European Court issued a verdict against PPC, but the power utility appealed in 2012 and was vindicated. Last year, the European Commission had the decision nullified in preparation for a new hearing on the matter at the EU’s General Court.

According to sources, an official court reference to the file describes PPC as a “former monopolistic corporation maintaining a dominant position in the wholesale electricity market as a result of advantages offered by its favorable access to lignite sources, a situation that has created uneqaul opportunities.”

Legal proceedings were halted last summer after Greece’s previous administration ratified legislation for PPC’s part-privatization, through the creation and eventual sale of a break-away new company dubbed “Little PPC”, representing 30 percent of the utility’s total, including an equivalent share of customers. This approach was chosen as a measure to counter the lack of competition in Greece’s electricity market.

The legal case can now be expected to be reactivated following the withdrawal of “Little PPC” from the bailout negotiations.