New Greek Energy and Environment Minister Kostis Hatzidakis on Monday again referred to the “political hot potato” entailed with loss-making Public Power Corp. (PPC), the state-run and dominant electricity provider in the country, and, euro for euro, the biggest industrial concern.
“The situation is very bad, all of the figures show this. That is why, in fact, there is no strategic investor on the horizon at this point; the scenario of a ‘small PPC’ cannot materialize at this point, nor can the plan of a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ PPC be implemented, because taxpayers will pay the cost for the ‘bad PPC’, therefore, what remains is a rescue plan,” he said, in unveiling his ministry’s policy statement in Parliament.
Hatzidakis, a veteran minister in past center-right New Democracy (ND) governments, was credited with privatizing another loss-making state company, Olympic Airways, in 2009.
The direction that his ministry will take, he said, is to rescue PPC towards the benefit of consumers in the country, its workforce and the national economy. He said both support measures and reform measures will be taken, going into details, in fact, such as:
- Attempting to reverse a commitment to the EU competition directorate for a halving of PPC’s customer based, mandated by the latter as a way of boosting competitiveness in the sector
- Lobbying for an abolition of the NOME-type power auctions, whereas PPC sells off future power generation to competitors in an auction setting
- Paying off the state’s arrears to PPC for its supply of subsidized power
- Boosting PPC’s currently anaemic share of renewable energy sources, presently at 2.9 percent in the country
- Composing a new business plan
- Partially privatizing the electricity distribution network operator, DEDDHE
- Implementing ‘targeted’ early retirement programs
- A clampdown on so-called “strategic defaulters”, especially major debtors, as Hatzidakis said roughly 60,000 consumers account for 800 million euros in arrears.