Greece’s natural gas network is facing a crisis stemming from the lack of coordination and communication between the competent authorities, at a time when it has to meet record demand for power production and gas supply for heating due to the prolonged cold weather.
A chain of failed estimates and wrong decisions by the authorities responsible for the country’s supply has resulted in a technical crisis that can only be overcome through setting the system to Type 2 emergency mode. This is likely to happen on Wednesday or Thursday, when the system will run out of gas, and switching to emergency procedures is the only way, according to the regulations in place, for the quantities put aside for emergencies to enter the market. There would not have been any problem with supply now had it not been for the order to set aside gas quantities for contingency purposes as of Wednesday.
Consumers are unlikely to realize the problem for now. However, they will be asked during the course of the year to cover the higher-than-usual cost of the natural gas used for power production (from the emergency quantities Public Gas Corporation has ordered) that could have been avoided with proper planning.
The cost will also rise due to the soaring system marginal price used for Public Power Corporation and the alternative electricity retailers to acquire the commodity, as producers are taking advantage of the high demand and the gas shortage to increase the pricing of their units’ operation.
Furthermore, according to the rules of the Regulatory Authority for Energy, the use of the contingency quantities by gas-fired power plants incurs an increased charge, which will then be passed on to domestic consumers, meaning that wholesale traders will be the only ones to benefit from this situation.