Gov’t is backing down on PPC and DESFA privatizations


The government is keeping all its options open as regards the future of Public Power Corporation and increasing competition in the electricity market, but it appears it has been forced to move ahead with the sale of 66 percent of the natural gas grid operator (DESFA) despite wishing otherwise.

Under pressure to complete the second bailout review and to resolve the multiple problems in the domestic market, the government has not ruled out slicing off a part of PPC and selling it to the private sector (a so-called “Small PPC”), as Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis made clear in the context of Thursday’s joint press conference with European Commissioner for Energy Miguel Arias Canete in Athens. Stathakis departed from the non-negotiable view in favor of 51 percent of PPC staying with the state, to “a strong and sustainable PPC.”

On the sidelines of the press event, Stathakis informed reporters that the new tender for DESFA will begin in the next few days and will concern the entire 66 percent stake offered in the previous process, which puts an end to the ministry’s aspiration to retain 51 percent of DESFA for the state.

Commissioner Canete stated that “the Commission continues to believe that 66 percent of DESFA ought to be privatized in the best possible conditions,” and that the candidate buyers will have to be independent operators of natural gas systems.