Greece unveils privatisation plan for Public Power Corporation
The Greek government on Thursday approved a privatization plan for Public Power Corporation which envisages the creation and sale of a «small PPC», the entry of a strategic investor and the sale of a majority equity stake in the country’s electricity grids.
The plan was originally presented in May by the Environment, Energy and Climate Change ministry and it is implemented as one of prior actions required for the release of the next instalment of a financial assistance programe to Greece. A new «small PPC» plan envisages the creation of a new company with a representative basket of electricity production units and customer base and will cover both a privatization programe and the deregulation of an electricity market by promoting competition on an equal basis between PPC’s production capacity and private energy players. The new company will hold around 30 pct of PPC’s production capacity including lignite units, hydro-electrics, natural gas units and access to lignite mines. The «small PPC» company will have a capacity of 1,400 MW of lignite units, 500 MW of hydro-electric and 500 MW of natural gas units.
The plan has yet to set the terms and conditions under which existing PPC’s customers will be transfered to the new «small PPC». Under the timetable set, the new company will begin operations in early 2015.
In second stage, Greek authorities will sale 17 pct of PPC’s equity capital, from a 51 pct majority stake currently owned by the state, preferably to a strategic investor. An international tender will begin in the third quarter of 2015 and was expected to be concluded by the end of 2015 or early 2016.
The privatization plan also envisages the sale of a majority stake in the Independent Power Trasmission Operator and a full withdrawal of PPC from transmission networks, although the Greek statek will maintain a statutory majority. A strategic investor will buy up to 49 pct in the Independent Power Transmission Operator -along with the management. This plan is expected to be completed this year. The strategic investor will buy up to 51 pct of the Operator by the second quarter of 2014.
PPC S.A. trade union lashes out at Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE)
The Public Power Corporation S.A. (PPC S.A.) trade union GENOP-DEI on Thursday strongly criticized the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) in response to the changes adopted in the operation of the electricity wholesale market effective for a transitional period until market competition is developed.
GENOP-DEI accused RAE of functioning as a sponsor/defender of private producers to the detriment of consumers.
Referring to the compensation raise received by natural gas plants – 88,000 euros/MW/year – in the form of Capacity Availability Certificates, GENOP-DEI underlined that the «amount is much higher than the reasonable cost they need to cover in order to survive» and that this decision «constitutes state subsidy».
SYRIZA accuses ruling parties of ‘having planned PPC selloff for years’
The government’s announcement on Thursday to sell a majority stake of the Independent Power Transmission Operation (ADMIET) to private investors and have the Public Power Corporation (PPC) withdraw fully from it was condemned by Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party the same day.
In an announcement, the main opposition party’s energy section charged the government with «selling off the country’s public wealth» and accused ruling parties New Democracy and PASOK of «having planned the undermining and devaluation of PPC for years in order to sell it off.»
They cited as examples of plans to sell it off «the fact they did not allow new units to be built, they introduced regulations against its interests, used it as tax collector to collect the real estate tax through its bills, they turned over of many of its activities to dubious-quality and excessively expensive private construction companies, and they asphyxiated it by forbidding new hires to replace departing personnel.»
KKE: Gov’t using ‘blackmail’ to get loan tranche disbursement
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Thursday attacked the government over its announcement on the breakup of the Public Power Corporation in order to sell parts of it, saying it is «the apex of its attack against the populace» that included higher bills for households and worsening relations for workers in the sector.
KKE charged that «the privatized power network means that its maintenance and expansion will be done on the basis of profit instead of on the need to cover popular needs.»
In a separate announcement on Thursday, the party also railed against what it called the government’s «endless blackmail and ideological terrorism at the expense of the people over the disbursement of this loan tranche,» while each installment disbursed «ended up in the pockets of business groups, industry people, shipoweners and banks.»
DIM.AR’s Kouvelis strongly objects sellout of PPC S.A. electricity networks
Opposition Democratic Left (DIM.AR) leader Fotis Kouvelis on Thursday lashed out at the government over an act of cabinet for the «privatization of the Public Power Corp. S.A.» adopted on Wednesday.
After meeting with technical staff ETE-DEI trade union repre-sentatives, he said that the act essentially ratified commitments undertaken by the finance minister and the deputy environment minister last May without taking into consideration the agreement of the three former government coalition partners and the prime minister’s policy statements delivered on July 6, 2012.
He clarified that the three former partners in the government had agreed «…on a strategic in nature deregulation of the energy sector, while keeping (energy) networks under public control…,» noting that he had categorically expressed his opposition to the selling of the power transmission networks, namely, the Independent Power Transmission Operator (ADMIE) S.A.
«Unfortunately for our country, the government with yesterday’s decision has committed itself to implement unacceptable and damaging policies,» Kouvelis underlined, adding that «this act does not guarantee the public interest and does not serve the citizens’ common good».
Independent Greeks slam PPC privatisation, revenue policy
Opposition Independent Greeks party deputies on Thursday issued statements criticising government moves for the privatisation of the Public Power Corporation and commenting on harsh taxation.
«The splitting up of the PPC and its gradual sale is a dangerous and catastrophic action that will result in the loss of energy sufficiency for the country, an increase in power rates and the future destabilisation of the distribution system for the direct benefit of foreign energy speculators,» said MP for Kozani Rachel Makri, in charge of energy issues for the party.
The party’s Parliamentary spokesman and sector head for economic issues, the MP Notis Marias, slammed what he called a «continuing attack on Greek households» through the passing of fast-track laws allowing the seizure of salaries, bank accounts and real estate for small debts to the public sector at a time when the official figures showed that the available income of Greek citizens was failling due to unemployment and wage cuts.