Commission wants to improve competition in the electricity sector
Greece has infringed European competition laws by giving the state-owned electricity incumbent Public Power Corporation (PPC) quasi-exclusive access to lignite, according to Europe’s Competition Commission.
The Commission said that as a result, despite liberalisation of the electricity wholesale market which started in 2001, PPC continues to enjoy today a virtual monopoly over access to lignite and Greece has protected PPC's dominant position in the electricity market.
With this Decision, the Commission calls on Greece to propose and adopt remedies to ensure sufficient access to lignite by competitors of PPC.
“With this Decision, the Commission calls on Greece to propose and adopt remedies to ensure sufficient access to lignite by competitors of PPC.
Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes commented “Customers are denied the benefits of competition in the electricity sector when one operator controls virtually all access to Greek lignite reserves, which currently represent the cheapest source of power generation in Greece. Greece should act decisively to establish a level playing field by ensuring within the framework of its national lignite policy, that competitors have access to substantial volumes of lignite.”
Virtually all lignite deposits in Greece are owned by the state, which grants exploration and exploitation rights to undertakings. PPC has obtained 91% (in terms of volume of deposits) of the current exploitation rights.
In Greece, virtually all lignite is used as a fuel for electricity generation in power plants situated close to the mines. Lignite is abundant in Greece, and is the cheapest available fuel.