ECONOMY

PPC mulls Balkan offers for possible cooperation

State-controlled electricity utility Public Power Corporation (PPC) is considering intensifying its cross-border activity as part of its objective of becoming the energy hub for southeast Europe in a move which would also secure Greece a role in the projected single European energy market, Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos said yesterday. The minister, who met with the PPC management yesterday to discuss the company’s business plan for the next five years, said that the electricity utility has received proposals for cooperation from a number of Balkan countries. «PPC has received propositions from Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina to help repair their energy transmission networks which were damaged in the 1990s and also invitations from Bulgaria and Romania to restore their transmission network in the north,» he said. Similarly, Yugoslavia has suggested that the two countries cooperate in energy issues. Tsochadzopoulos said that PPC is studying the offers of collaboration and expects to make an announcement shortly. The overriding objective is to transform Greece into the energy center for the region. The company is also close to completing the underwater electrical cable connecting Greece to Italy and expects to sign an agreement for its commercial use shortly. The ultimate goal is to extend the cable to Turkey. The project, which is jointly financed by PPC, Italian electricity company Enel and the EU, has a capacity of 500 MW. On the home front, PPC plans to improve the domestic transmission and distribution networks, upgrade power stations and build new units. Priority for new power stations will be given to the islands. PPC also intends to build five sub-stations in Attica, Vrilissia in northern Athens, at the Olympic Village, the old Hellenic airport and Nikaia in western Athens to meet additional demand for energy in connection with the 2004 Olympic Games. The Athens 2004 organizing committee has agreed to joint funding of these projects. The measures are expected to reinforce PPC’s position before a slew of privately owned power operators make their entrance into the energy market in the coming years. Greece partially opened up the electricity market last February. PPC listed some 15 percent of its equity last month. The measures are expected to reinforce PPC’s position before a slew of privately owned power operators make their entrance into the energy market in the coming years. Greece partially opened up the electricity market last February. PPC listed some 15 percent of its equity last month.