Emergency loan for Greek electricity market operator to prevent energy crisis

Greece will extend an emergency loan to its cash-strapped electricity market operator LAGHE and impose a temporary tax on renewable energy producers to prevent an energy crisis, a senior Greek official said on Friday.

The Loans and Consignments Fund, a state-run lender, will give LAGHE a one-year loan of 140 million euros ($180 million), deputy energy minister Asimakis Papageorgiou told Reuters in an interview.

Greece’s international lenders, who had initially opposed the loan over state aid concerns, finally relented, in view of the energy market’s critical situation.

“The troika (EU, IMF and ECB) approved it because they realized that these actions are necessary for the market to survive and return to a normal state,» Papageorgiou said.

As a further measure to plug LAGHE’s deficit of more than 300 million euros, Athens will impose a temporary charge on renewable energy producers, according to the minister. High subsidies to solar power producers were partly responsible for the hole in LAGHE’s accounts.

Finding a strategic partner for state-controlled utility PPC (DEHr.AT) was the best way to privatize it over the next two years, Papageorgiou said. He added that Greece was in discussions to acquire a stake in natural gas pipeline TAP or enter into commercial agreements with it.


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