ECONOMY

Power firm competition heats up

power-firm-competition-heats-up

Alternative power suppliers are facing the specter of new competition from firms entering the retail electricity market from other sectors, such as OTE telecom, Hellenic Post and EYDAP water company, which have the advantage of being able to offer combined services to clients.

At the moment there are seven alternative power suppliers in the market which have recently started increasing their advertising as they target household customers.

Three out of the seven companies are vertically integrated, covering all stages from power production to retailing, and belong to major energy groups, while the other four are smaller independent firms. The former are Elpedison (belonging to Hellenic Petroleum, Edison, Ellaktor and Viohalco), Protergia (Mytilineos Group), and Heron Energy (GEK Terna), and the latter are Green, Watt+Volt, Voltera and NPG.

Up against Greek electricity giant Public Power Corporation to date, the alternative suppliers have seen their combined market share grow to 6 percent from 3 percent after the negative experience of now-defunct Energa and Hellas Power.

The current activity in the domestic power market is attributed to the business expectations that have arisen following the country’s commitment to its creditors (in accordance with the bailout agreement) to reduce PPC’s share of production capacity by 20 percent up to 2018 and up to 50 percent by 2020.

Ahead of the increased competition from new players and the measures to be taken to fulfill the bailout commitment (auctions of lignite and hydroelectric power), the active alternative suppliers are feverishly seeking partners in the market to form networks that would promote their services. The competition is fierce and sources say the power companies are desperately trying to woo leading cell phone company Cosmote, eyeing the extensive branch network of its Germanos chain, which could help them strengthen their position. Suppliers are also in talks with other chains with extensive networks such as Vodafone, OPAP and Public, as well as electrical goods chains including Media Markt and Kotsovolos, though no deal has been sealed yet.