Greece’s energy-intensive industries will receive a discount on their electric bills of up to 20 percent for one year with the option of a 12-month extension, Public Power Corporation (PPC) announced on Friday, as the government is seeking ways to ease energy costs for cash-strapped local industry.
In the wake of shutdown threats by some of the country’s biggest industries, including steelmakers, the utility’s governing board convened on Friday and decided to slash rates for its biggest clients in view of Greece’s improving economy.
The government, as a PPC stakeholder, announced that “taking into account the Greek economy’s long and deep recession, and the fact that after several years [it appears to be entering a phase of gradually returning to expansion], as well as that industries, particularly energy-intensive ones, form a crucial part of the country’s production capacity,” it has resorted to a series of measures justified by the extraordinary character of the existing conditions.
The state has therefore “proposed to the PPC board and approved an extraordinary discount of 10 percent on PPC rates for one plus one year for high-voltage enterprises, starting from January 1, 2014. For companies with an annual consumption in excess of 1,000 gigawatt hours in particular, a discount of 10 percent will apply in addition to the above discount.”
The government is hoping that the expected losses of some 75 million euros from the discounts will be offset by the industries’ increase in consumption, along with production units restarting operations, as well as timely payment of bills.
As an extra incentive to increase power consumption, PPC will also offer an additional discount of 25 percent on its rates for nights and weekends for all high-voltage clients apart from those with an annual consumption of more than 1,000 GWh.
One of PPC’s unions, Spartakos, protested the decision on Friday, saying in a letter to the finance minister that it constitutes a direct subsidy to energy-intensive industries and “the killing blow for PPC,” threatening to take recourse to the European competition authorities.