| ATHENS, Sept 8
ATHENS, Sept 8 Greece's dominant power utility
Public Power Corp. (PPC) warned on Thursday it could
be hurt by electricity auctions Athens plans to open up the
country's power market if pricing is too low.
PPC, 51 percent owned by the state, controls about 60
percent of the wholesale electricity market and about 90 percent
of the retail market.
But under an international bailout signed by Greece last
year, the third since 2010, Athens agreed to introduce
electricity auctions this month, aiming to lower PPC's share in
the retail and wholesale market by 50 percentage points by 2020.
This would see electricity capacity sold at auction to
retailers, which would then sell it to their own clients.
PPC warned that the power auctions should not be priced much
lower than the current average wholesale price for power
purchases, otherwise, it would cause "excessive production
losses" for the company.
It also said that it would amount to cross subsidies to
alternative power producers with evident implications for free
competition, an issue which EU Competition authorities should
assess regarding compatibility with the European law.
PPC said that it has briefed EU Commission energy officials
in separate meetings in July and August and that contacts with
the relevant EU authorities will continue.
PPC said a more efficient way to boost competition was for
the company to spin off its retail business by setting up
smaller companies with other providers. PPC originally announced
such a plan in June.
Greece had planned to launch power auctions this month, but
a Greek energy ministry official told Reuters a delay meant the
first auction would now take place in the last quarter.
(Editing by Alexander Smith)