INFRASTRUCTURE

Energy watchdog reins in grid operators

Energy watchdog reins in grid operators

Greece’s energy watchdog is reining in investment by electricity and natural gas administrators using funds from consumers without offering them any returns.

“We are here to protect the consumer and not the profits of grid operators,” Regulatory Authority for Energy President Athanasios Dagoumas told a press conference on Monday.

He revealed that, so far, besides the 5-million-euro fine imposed on the Independent Power Transmission Operator (ADMIE) for delays in the Western Corridor project, the regulator has also stopped the plans of gas grid operator DESFA for financing two investments of its own through consumer money: They are its participation in the storage and regasification unit at Alexandroupoli and the South Kavala underground storage facility.

“DESFA wanted to spend consumers’ money on non-regulated activities; we placed the necessary limits, it has adjusted to them and committed to proceeding in the next 18 months with a new structure separating the regulated from the non-regulated charges,” said the RAE chief regarding DESFA’s participation in the Alexandroupoli project, confirmed just last week.

He spoke in even stronger terms about the old (and now empty) Kavala reserve: Answering a question as to when the Pricing Regulation will be approved for state privatization fund TAIPED to start the second phase of the tender, Dagoumas revealed that DESFA demanded that a second pipeline be included in the project, similar to the country’s existing central pipeline, and be financed by consumers: “Is it possible that they should seek a double pipeline, for Greek consumers to pay 1 billion euros and the administrators to make profits? It is a disgrace, but it is also the reality,” he said, stressing that decisions will be made based on cost-benefit studies.

“Operators should respect consumers. We will monitor the benefits of projects and whether the timetables are adhered to, and we will intervene,” added the RAE head. “We are a European country and the spending of operators should represent that,” he noted, stressing that the premium of administrators “is not supposed to be given away, it is granted when there is a cost-benefit analysis.”