ECONOMY

Firms offered incentives in effort to avoid energy blackout in July

As the July heat waves get closer, bringing with them new peaks in energy demand and the risk of blackouts, the Development Ministry is asking for the cooperation of about 6,850 companies in order to contain electricity consumption next month. Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas announced the financial incentives provided to all medium-consumption enterprises in Greece, as well as fines for excessive consumption, in order to contribute to the smooth energy supply of the country. The consumers (companies) linked with the medium-voltage network of the Public Power Corporation (PPC) are invited to either accept the financial incentives provided by the ministerial decision signed yesterday or choose special contracts for voltage cuts with PPC. If those opting for special contracts do not eventually adhere to them, they will not only lose the financial reward the contacts provide, but also pay extra charges. A similar measure applied last July but only on a limited number of enterprises, up to 3,000, due to the inability to measure the voltage at the time. PPC has now installed meters at all medium-voltage consumers, allowing for expanding the measure to 6,850 companies. The ministerial decision provides for an increased discount rate on the monthly charge of power consumed by companies, in comparison with current tariffs. This rate will be proportionate to the consumption reduction of each company during peak hours in relation with its maximum monthly demand. Alternatively, medium- and even high-voltage companies will be able to sign special voltage-reduction contracts with PPC. They will state the average reduction in power demand during the peak hours of specific days (with a maximum of 10), announced 14 hours in advance. The agreed reduction will have to be equal to or bigger than 10 percent of the average power demand, to be recorded during peak hours on the days with no restriction. Sioufas said the grid operates to its limit every summer, due to the rapid rise in demand for electricity in recent years and the delay in promoting the investment required in previous years. Seeking partners Separately, listed oil refiner Motor Oil said it is looking for a partner for the 250-million-euro project it plans for electricity production, as the company lacks the know-how required. «We possess one of the electricity production licenses and we believe we have a comparative advantage in southern Greece. «For the time being we are still making our plans and contacts and we are interested in an alliance as our strategy is to enter this market as a minority within the investment, because our activity and growth relies on oil refining,» deputy CEO Petros Tzanetakis stated yesterday. He added, «As a company we are very close to electricity production since we have produced power for our plant in Corinth since 1985, and we will now use natural gas as another alternative energy source.» He explained that Motor Oil’s share in the investment will not exceed 20-25 million euros as 70 percent of the project will be subsidized by the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE). On Motor Oil’s main activity, Tzanetakis said it has penetrated the Turkish oil market and trades oil in Syria, Cyprus, Egypt and Libya, with investment in the last four years exceeding 400 million euros. He noted that last year Motor Oil confirmed its technological advance with the completion of the «Hydrocracker» investment, rendering the company’s refinery one of the most modern in Europe, able to produce high-quality and high-added-value fuel.