* PPC says inspected over allegations it has violated
* Says provides every possible help to facilitate EU's
* EU regulator says raided Greek power companies on Tuesday
(Add statement from PPC, EU Commission)
By Angeliki Koutantou
ATHENS, Feb 15 The European Union's competition
authority is investigating Greece's power utility PPC
over allegations the utility has violated antitrust rules, PPC
said on Wednesday.
Two sources told Reuters on Wednesday that the EU
competition watchdog on Tuesday raided PPC and the headquarters
of the country's power grid operator ADMIE. PPC, which is 51
percent owned by the state, owns ADMIE.
PPC confirmed that inspection had begun on Tuesday as part
of the EU regulator's investigation into alleged abuse of PPC's
dominant position in the wholesale energy market since 2010. PPC
said it was "providing every possible help to facilitate the
The European Commission said EU antitrust regulators raided
several Greek power companies on Tuesday on suspicion that the
firms may be involved in anti-competitive practices but did not
It can order companies to stop illegal practices and impose
fines up to 10 percent of their global turnover if found guilty
of breaking EU rules.
Greece is trying to reform its energy market, a key
condition of the country's international bailout, amid a row
between PPC and smaller power producers over wholesale market
Under the reform plan, the country has to spin off ADMIE
from PPC by the end of March or fully privatise the grid. PPC
has agreed to sell a stake in ADMIE to China's State Grid
Athens also needs to cut PPC's share in the retail market to
below 50 percent by 2020 from about 90 percent.
Greece last year launched power auctions to force PPC to
sell electricity to rival power producers and help to open up
the market but it has been at odds with its international
lenders over the effectiveness of the scheme.
PPC has appealed to the country's top court over the
auctions, saying the average price of the sales was clearly
below the company's production costs.
Smaller power producers have criticised the auctions,
suggesting that PPC might need to divest some of its units for
the market to open up, a plan that the government has strongly
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, Additional reporting by Foo
Yun Chee; Editing by Jane Merriman)