ECONOMY

Lower energy costs for industry

The high-voltage industry in Greece stands to save some 60 million euros per year with new, interruptible contracts for electricity supply that the Public Power Corporation (PPC) is promoting upon the orders of the prime minister.

The package of measures, promoted by the Environment and Energy Ministry in a bid to lighten energy costs for industry, also provides for a reduction in the price of natural gas beyond the 12 percent discount that the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) has secured from its suppliers that will apply retroactively from February 1.

The same package also includes a clause on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which will bring about a significant decline in costs in the context of the currently low stock prices, significant discounts for medium-voltage industries consuming over 10 gigawatt-hours per year, and fresh negotiations with the country’s international creditors regarding the abolition of the special consumption tax on natural gas used for electricity production.

In association with its subsidiary that operates the power grid, PPC is currently processing the framework for interruptible contracts and its funding package. Such contracts, used by almost all other European countries, allow the system operator to ask energy-intensive industries to have their power supply halted during hours of peak demand in return for discounts, while imposing penalties should the industries refuse to respond to this contractual obligation.

Due to the current recession and the accompanying reduction in demand for power, there is no such need for such a system, but the Independent Power Transmission Operator (ADMIE) is required to find a framework to support the institution of interruptible contracts in order to avoid them being considered a state subsidy. The ministry is also looking for ways to fund these contracts, with ADMIE proposing the creation of a transitional “auxiliary fund for the system,” whose revenues will come from all electricity-producing units, including natural gas-powered and those using renewable energy sources.