New code frees up energy market

In a move designed to boost investment and create hundreds of jobs in Greece, the government yesterday unveiled a new code of conduct to help deregulate the energy market and break up the current monopoly held by the state-controlled Public Power Corporation (PPC). Less than two months after the European Commission sent Greece a warning letter because it had failed to open its electricity and natural gas markets to competition, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas revealed that he was introducing new administration codes for transactions in the energy market. «The signing of the codes gives the domestic and foreign business community the signal for promoting large-scale investment initiatives, which will create hundreds of new jobs directly,» Sioufas said. He hopes that from July 2007, households will be able to choose who supplies their electricity rather than simply relying on PPC. Although the state-controlled company will remain at the center of the Greek energy market, the new regulations allow private producers, suppliers and traders to compete for business. The initiative was heralded after a Cabinet meeting during which, sources said, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis told his ministers to focus on their work and stop making frequent public statements. He also demanded greater coordination between ministries and that the government’s communication strategy be handled only by spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos.