Power, gas supplies set to be tested


Energy authorities in Greece have signaled that the country’s natural gas system is expected to remain under pressure until early February.

Liquefied natural gas reserves at the LNG terminal on the islet of Revythousa are set to run out tomorrow because the LNG carrier that had been supposed to deliver a shipment from Algiers was not able to dock at the Algerian capital’s port in time due to rough seas.

This development has generated major concern in Athens and on Wednesday the Regulatory Authority for Energy convoked the Crisis Management Committee, which assessed the situation regarding the uninterrupted supply of electricity and natural gas around the country.

In an effort to tackle the crisis, it was decided that natural gas-operated power plants that have the capacity to use other fuels would be switched to oil instead on Friday.

The rise in the system’s marginal price has improved the balance of imports and exports, as domestic players do not conduct any exports while there has been no significant increase in imports.

The credibility of the system will be determined in the coming days by the performance of Public Power Corporation’s lignite-fired plants, which have been working to capacity.

If things do get tough, it will be hard to avoid rotational power cuts for consumers in order to avert a blackout. That is because the authorities have limited solutions to hand following two back-to-back crises. The hydroelectric plants that saved the system from crashing during the crisis just before Christmas cannot be employed as the summer reserves have already been exhausted.

There are additional concerns regarding the possibility of using the measure of interruptibility for a third time – whereby medium- and high-voltage consumers would stop consuming power when they least need it. In the last couple of crisis periods when the measure was used it was particularly beneficial for the system as it practically supported the country’s supply with electricity by saving what amounts to the capacity of two lignite units.