ECONOMY

Blackout risk at any moment

Greece remains today under the threat of a blackout, following the third day of strike action by Public Power Corporation (PPC) employees which caused extensive power cuts in many areas across the country yesterday. PPC yesterday submitted an injunction application against the strike, and the union (GENOP-PPC) responded with a six-day extension to the industrial action, called to protest planned social security reforms. Two-hour power cuts were deemed necessary for many parts of Greece, including the capital, as 16 power production units with a total capacity of 3,955 megawatts were out of operation, along with an additional 900 MW of three units that are shut for scheduled maintenance. PPC and grid operator DESMHE spoke of an unprecedented situation. DESMHE asked PPC to proceed with the power cuts as the system could not cope with demand, even with imports of 1,000 MW. Cuts were made without warning, based on demand and the capacity of the production system. Late last night, DESMHE officials said that power cuts lasting twice as long may be required today in order to maintain the stability of the network, or two-hour cuts for twice as many people, as the situation is considered to be «exceptionally critical.» «At this point there can be a power blackout at any moment,» the officials say, stressing the risk of an interruption in the supply of coal due to the closure of the mines and the low volume of stocks at power production facilities. Stocks have already been reduced by 150,000 tons. Development Minister Christos Folias had an emergency meeting yesterday with the heads of PPC, DESMHE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy and the National Energy Planning Council asking them to coordinate with each other in the best possible way.