ECONOMY

PPC threatens to appeal Endesa power license

Public Power Corporation (PPC), Greece’s former electricity monopoly, may appeal a government approval allowing Spain’s Endesa SA to start selling power in the country later this year. PPC will «consider taking all adequate initiatives, not excluding legal means» to prevent the license from «distorting competition,» the Athens-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. The government last month agreed to connect the 334-megawatt power plant of Endesa’s Greek unit Endesa Hellas to the national grid as part of efforts to boost competition and help avoid electricity shortages over the summer. The unit’s previous generation license was to supply power to an adjacent aluminium production plant owned by Endesa’s Greek partners Mytilineos Holdings SA. Endesa Hellas’s plans to sell electricity from that unit would shrink PPC’s earnings by an annual 80 million euros ($124 million) because the aluminium plant would continue to get cheap electricity from PPC under an existing 1960 contract, the former monopoly has said. Separately, PPC challenged an order by European Union regulators to give up its control over lignite, a key commodity the company uses to generate power. PPC appealed the EU order yesterday at the Court of First Instance of the European Court of Justice, the Athens-based company that’s also known as PPC said today in an e-mailed statement. It didn’t give further details. The European Commission on March 5 ordered the Greek government, which owns 51 percent of PPC, to end the company’s «quasi-exclusive» access to lignite, a form of soft brown coal. PPC’s competitors face unfair market barriers because lignite is the Mediterranean country’s cheapest available fuel, the Commission said. PPC is the No 2 producer of lignite in Europe, with 62.5 million metric tons of output in 2006, according to the company. Lignite accounts for 56 percent of its electricity production, the company says. (Bloomberg)