Union reaction delays PPC overhaul plan

The Public Power Corporation (PPC) yesterday put off a presentation to analysts of its new strategic business plan, involving extensive restructuring, in the face of trade union reactions. PPC said in a statement that the presentation, originally scheduled to take place early this month, will now be held on November 21. «The intervening period will give the opportunity to all interested parties to complete the constructive dialogue under way,» said the statement. Earlier, the corporation’s labor union (GENOP) threatened industrial action, claiming that management was evading dialogue on the plan, which aimed at «the splintering and privatization of the corporation.» The plan envisages the division of the corporation into six separate units and a reduction in its use of lignite to 20 percent of its production from the current 60 percent. «We shall submit our own studies and proposals, because we also have a say in the company’s future,» GENOP President Nikos Fotopoulos told Kathimerini. The new business plan, aiming to make PPC more flexible, envisages the creation of six subsidiaries under the parent company, that will undertake power transmission, production and distribution, lignite mining, commercial operations and fuel procurement respectively. The plan, drawn up with the help of consultancies Booz Allen Hamilton and McKinsey, provides for the transfer of the majority of PPC staff to the subsidiaries, with the parent company retaining only about a 10th of the present work force of some 26,000. The consultants also found that PPC underprices the cost of production and other services, and proposed a 22 percent average increase in tariffs over four years. GENOP is also categorically opposed to the proposal for a phased reduction in the use of lignite production. But the corporation plans to diversify its fuel sources by turning to natural gas, to be supplied by the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA). The PPC board meanwhile yesterday approved the activation of an option for a 30 percent stake in DEPA.