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The EU explores the behavior of Greece’s largest electricity producer on the wholesale market

The European Commission has launched a formal antitrust investigation to evaluate possible abuse by the Public Electric Power Corporation (PPC) in the Greek electricity wholesaling sector, examining See if Greece’s largest power producer and electricity supplier will distort competition and slow down renewable energy investments. said the head of the trust on March 16.

“We all rely on a well-functioning electricity market,” said the Executive Vice President of the EU Commission for Competition Policy. Margrethe Vestager to speak. “Today, we are conducting an investigation into PPC behavior in the electricity wholesale markets in Greece that may have distorted competition and slowed investment in greener energy production. Greece has recently embarked on an ambitious plan to get rid of lignite. Ensuring effective competition is the best way to provide competitively priced electricity to both the public and businesses, and to stimulate investment in less polluting sources of energy ”.

PPC, the largest retail and wholesale electricity supplier in Greece, is largely owned by the Greek State. It controls all lignite and hydroelectricity as well as certain natural gas and renewable energy plants. It is also active in powering retail consumers and businesses, which still holds more than two-thirds of the market.

The Committee expressed concern that PPC might have limited competition in the Greek wholesale electricity market by its bidding behavior. In particular, given PPC’s position at both the wholesale and retail levels, it may have adopted bidding strategies that are designed to hamper the competitiveness of PPC’s competitors in the wholesale and retail markets. related electrical fields, the Commission said in a press release.

If proven, this would constitute a predatory behavior, in violation of EU antitrust rules, in particular on the abuse of a dominant market position, the Commission said.

However, the EN notes that the opening of the proceedings means that the Commission will consider the case as a matter of priority but without prejudice to the outcome of the investigation.

The EU supports the Greek PPC in carbon reduction

In related news, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on March 12 the bank is supporting PPC’s ambitious sustainability and carbon reduction goals by investing 50 million. euro on the company’s sustainable bond issue.

With a total issuance volume of € 650 million, this issue will help improve PPC’s financial access by diversifying its financial resources to a social, environmental-focused investor base. and new governance (ESG).

The bond will include a sustainable performance target, with PPC committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 40% by the end of 2022. This target translates into an annual CO2 reduction of 9.2 million tons in 2022 vs. 2019 and is the most ambitious EBRD targeting business has ever supported in the regions in which it invests.

This goal is expected to be met primarily by shutting down all lignite plants by 2023 and replacing them with renewable energy capacity in a significantly accelerated program that will supplement Add 1.3GW of mainly solar and wind power to PPC’s portfolio.

As the largest supplier and generator in Greece, PPC is at the center of the country’s effort to achieve the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030. It is also the owner of the fertilizer network. electricity is Greek and is the sole supplier of electricity to those Greek islands. not connected to the national grid.

The company has been listed on the Athens Stock Exchange since 2001 and its main shareholder is the state of Greece (51.1%), through the participation of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund and Xi. Assets and Join Hellenic Group.

The bond will conform to the International Capital Market Association’s (ICMA) Sustainable Bond Principles (ICMA) (SLBP), announced in June 2020, promoting transparency, openness and integrity in green bond market development and sustainable linkage. It will also be the first sustainable bond in regions where EBRD invests.

In 2020, EBRD provided a 160 million euro premium unsecured loan to PPC to help address the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. This facility supports PPC’s working capital needs at times of customer payment volatility and enhances the resilience of the electricity industry.

“We are very proud to support PPC returning to the capital market with a new sustainable financial instrument underpinning an ambitious carbon reduction and conversion strategy,” said EBRD Regional Director, Energy Southeast Europe George Gkiaouris to speak. “This is the first sustainable bond issue in the EBRD region with a broader demonstration effect. Trading sends an important signal that access to finance for energy-intensive utilities is increasingly reliant on a commitment to decarburization and sustainability, ”he added.

EBRD started making a temporary investment in Greece in 2015 to support the country’s economic recovery. To date, the Bank has invested more than 4.2 billion Euros in more than 70 projects in Greek business, finance, energy and infrastructure.

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