Greece has agreed that its main power utility, Public Power Corp (PPC), will sell some coal-fired plants as part of bailout reforms, two sources close to the talks said today (29 March).
Differences between Athens, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund over how PPC should relinquish its dominance of the Greek market have been an obstacle in talks to unlock new loans for the cash-strapped country.
The state controls 51% of PPC, the EU’s second-largest producer of coal-fired electricity. PPC commands about 90% of the Greek retail power market and 60% of its wholesale market, but international lenders want the utility to cut both shares to below 50% by 2020.
The company operates 14 coal-fired units across Greece, the majority of which are in the northwestern region of Macedonia. PPC also produces electricity from hydroelectric and renewable energy plants.
“It has been agreed that some of PPC’s units will be sold,” said a source close to the talks.
Another source said that PPC will have to sell up to 40% of its coal-fired power plants.
A minister in Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s leftist ruling coalition accused international lenders on Monday (27 March) of reneging on a 2015 bailout deal by trying to force a PPC fire sale.
The government said on Tuesday (28 March) it was seeking to keep PPC under state control.
Greece’s main labour union GENOP-DEH, which represents the company’s 18,000 workers, will hold a rally in Western Macedonia on 7 April when eurozone finance ministers meet to discuss Greece, union spokesman Costas Koutsodimas told Reuters.
“We will plan labour action, depending on how the government will proceed on the issue,” Koutsodimas said.