BUSINESS

Gov’t push for cheaper power

CHRYSSA LIAGGOU

TAGS: Energy

The Environment and Energy Ministry appears determined to put an end to the pursuit of excessive capital gains in energy at the expense of consumers, by introducing the competitive European model for setting the price of electricity after eight years of postponements.

Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis appears determined to put paid to the constant delays and the market distortion: “We will go the European way,” he told Kathimerini, sending a clear message to those who are looking to further delay the introduction of the new model.

“Having proceeded with the streamlining of Public Power Corporation and the simplification of the renewable energy source licensing, we cannot ignore the high energy costs,” the minister said: “All other European Union countries have liberalized their energy markets through their so-called target model, and we are the only ones left behind.”

The European model for electricity targets the unification of national markets and the creation of a single European market. Power from RES will enter the market without protected status, and the various subsidy mechanisms for conventional power production units, which burden consumers and enterprises, will be abolished.

The industry, which is exposed to international competition, will be able to sign bilateral contracts, just like its rivals do in Europe, achieving better rates. That model will be the key to the reduction of power rates for industries and households alike.

Greece has by far the highest wholesale electricity rate in Europe: In the first half of the year it came to 42.47 euros per megawatt hour, some €8-10 more than neighboring countries in the Balkans and Italy (that are at €32-34/MWh) and almost €20 above Germany and Belgium (whose rates are at €22.86/MWh and €23.98/MWh respectively).

This terrible distinction for Greece is the outcome of structural features in the Greek market and institutionalized distortions that both household and industrial consumers are forced to pay for. The energy cost is the main disadvantage of Greek industry compared to its rivals in foreign markets.

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