ECONOMY

PPC hastens to ensure energy sufficiency this summer

The sufficiency of electrical energy supplies in the summer months is becoming something of a challenge for the Public Power Corporation (PPC), which in just a short period of time must make up time lost during the two-week strike of its workers’ union. Now the strike is over, top priorities for the company include increasing its lignite production and reserves for the operation of its plants, accelerating its maintenance work and upgrading programs relating to its production and distribution networks. The issue of power sufficiency in the summer has dominated PPC meetings in the last few days. Informed sources suggest that the industrial action has considerably delayed some relevant programs and reduced the corporation’s lignite reserves. However the time remaining before the summer is considered enough for completing these projects, provided the pace increases. PPC will also be seeking to minimize hydroelectric production and has already started negotiating electricity import contracts. Regarding the lignite reserve deficit, PPC is in talks with Bulgaria about the possibility of importing coal to meet the needs of the plants at Kozani and Ptolemaida. Talks focusing on 800,000 tons per year from the Maritza Iztok mines began three months ago, but the situation has since been further aggravated by the strike. This is the first time ever that PPC has resorted to coal imports. This week, PPC will complete its initial assessment of the strike’s cost for the company, which will be recorded in the results of the year’s first quarter. Tomorrow the board is likely to approve the 2007 results. Deutsche Bank predicts «poor» results for 2007 but a rebound in profits for 2008 and mainly for 2009. It sets a target price of 32 euros with a «buy» recommendation.