ECONOMY

Lavrion plant tender gets country in trouble

The European Commission is taking Greece to the European Court for irregularities in the bidding process for the power unit at Lavrion. The case is also to be examined by Greek courts, following recourse to law by current Public Power Corporation (PPC) President Yiannis Paleokrassas. The project for the 400-megawatt thermoelectric plant was allocated by the PPC governing board to METKA for 193,962,846 euros on November 25, 2003, a day after Brussels notified the government of the time that it would examine the tender process. Having dismissed the explanations offered by Athens, the Commission is now calling on the court to recognize that «since PPC accepted in the final phase of the tender two bids from companies not fulfilling the criteria proclaimed, Greece has violated the principles of transparency and equal treatment of bidders.» Brussels argues that PPC accepted the financial bid of the AEGEK-Aktor consortium although the latter did not meet the conditions of experience according to the tender’s proclamation, and awarded the project to METKA whose financial bid regarding the long-term maintenance of the plant’s turbine did not adhere to the tender’s conditions either. Other bidders were Alstom and Va Tech Hydro, but PPC rejected their bids in the early stages of the tender process. The Commission has rejected Greece’s claims of the need for a speedy awarding of the project, suggesting that this necessity should not hamper the completion of the procedure according to the principles of transparency and equality. PPC originally made plans for a power unit at Lavrion in July 2001. The project is now deemed vital as needs for electricity have increased and the Attica grid requires steady power flow. The installation license was approved by the then development minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos in January 2003 and PPC proclaimed the tender two months later.