ECONOMY

Power retailer takes a market share

Verbund, the state electricity utility of Austria, has become the first company to break the monopoly of the Public Power Corporation in electricity retailing, through its joint presence with Energa in Greece. The company has already taken a 1 percent share of the market of medium-consumption customers by drawing from PPC some 1,300 clients, according to the firm’s officials. They stated this week that they are now targeting a 10 percent share by 2013. The option to switch was given to some 5,000 medium-consumption customers of PPC in 2009 and is now available also to the approximately 430,000 domestic consumers who use over 3,000 kilowatt/hours per four months. The alternative supplier offers medium-consumption customers with discounts of between 10 and 20 percent on the PPC rates and 10-15 percent to domestic consumers. Verbund, just like any other alternative supplier to emerge, is making the most of the significant profit margins created in those categories of customer by the low system marginal price, i.e. the price determined every day on the market and at which suppliers buy. Until recently, the only buyer had been PPC. In 2009, the average system marginal price stood at 35 euros per megawatt/hour. Consumers who choose to change their supplier will not have to change their meter but will henceforth receive two bills: one from PPC concerning payment for third parties (local authorities, ERT broadcaster etc) and one from the new supplier with the cost of the energy consumed.