An energy emergency has hit Greece due to the lack of cash in the market sector and the provisional government has been busy in the last few days in a race against time in order to avoid the country going into an energy blackout which the financial problems might well cause.
In the meantime the public gas agency (DEPA) has asked the Greek authority for Energy (RAE) to adopt measures which can protect the national electric network, advising that it could be possible to stop providing electricity to those private producers who owe DEPA 300 million euros.
The man who first sounded the alarm was Haris Sachinis, chairman and CEO of DEPA, according to whom the deficit of the company that manages the Greek electricity market (LAGIE) has already reached the 400 million euros mark and is still rising. Sachinis adds that if the problem isn't tackled immediately, a blackout could happen from one day to the next.
The minister of Finance, Giorgos Zannias and of the Environment, Grigoris Tsaltas, met all the representatives of the energy market last Friday, including the public electricity company (PPC). The meeting proved that there is an immediate risk of a "domino effect" on companies in the energy sector with unimaginable consequences for the country's economy.
In the letter sent to RAE, DEPA pointed out the fact that it does not have the money to pay foreign providers any more, including the Turkish company Botas, the Russian Gazprom and Italian company ENI. In the letter, DEPA argues that it is in need of at least 100 million euros cash to pay BOTAS by June 15 and Gazprom on the 22nd. In the event that DEPA cannot find all the money by June 14, it will ask banks to give up the guarantees towards private energy producers and will discontinue the supply towards their facilities, taking them straight into bankruptcy and causing even greater problems to the supply of electricity in the country.
Arthouros Zervos, chairman of PPC, has admitted while addressing journalists that "there is a serious threat of energy interruption" and that "this is an emergency which has to be tackled immediately." An issue which emerged from Friday's meeting was that the only source of cash in this situation can be provided by the deposits and loans accounts. The first instalment of 100 million euros, of the 350 million owed to LAGIE, the electricity market managing company, could be handed out by DEPA by June 14.
Sources related to Friday's meeting also reported that minister Zannias has spoken with Bob Traa, an important representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who is resident in Athens and convinced him to give the green light to a loan for DEPA, putting aside his request to first deal with the structural problems within the market.(ANSAmed).