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ELECTRICITY | POLICY

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EC accuses Greek utility PPC of predatory pricing

(Montel) The European Commission has informed Greek energy company PPC that it may have broken EU competition law by selling wholesale electricity below cost in a way that blocked out rivals.

PPC may have abused its dominant position in the Greek wholesale market between 2013-2019 by selling power from its lignite- and gas-fired plants at prices below their variable costs, said the EC on Wednesday.

This may have made it difficult for independent power providers to enter the market and deterred investment in lower carbon electricity.

“PPC’s conduct may have led to higher prices for Greek consumers, as well as higher emission levels of local pollution,” said the EC.

Largest supplier
PPC is partly state-owned and the largest supplier of retail and wholesale power in Greece. Between 2013-2019, it controlled all of Greece’s lignite and hydropower capacity, as well as some natural gas and renewable generation plants.

The EC has sent PPC a formal statement listing the suspected breaches of EU law. PPC now has the right to defend itself.

If the EC concludes after hearing the defence that PPC did break EU law, it can prohibit the behaviour and impose a fine of up to 10% of the company’s annual worldwide turnover.

There is no legal deadline for the EC to reach a decision on the case. It started the formal anti-trust investigation into this issue in March 2021.