Greek utility shelves plans for price increases

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 29, 2013 7:59 AM
Greek utility shelves plans for price increases

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's state-controlled utility PPC said on Saturday it had no immediate plans to raise electricity prices for households after their liberalization on July 1.

Under the terms of its international bailout, Greece was supposed to raise low-voltage electricity prices in two stages this year, on May 1 and then before their liberalization on July 1, to bring them closer to generation costs.

The government, which owns 51 percent of PPC, shelved the May 1 hike, saying it was no longer needed because electricity generation costs were falling.

Asked by reporters on Saturday whether any increases would take effect from July 1, PPC's Chief Executive Arthouros Zervos said on the sidelines of a shareholders' meeting: "We will first have to see how the general situation and the regulatory framework in the electricity market unfolds."

PPC was even planning to cut electricity prices to some industrial clients, Zervos said.

Electricity prices are a sensitive political issue and the government has said it did not want to impose any further painful measures on its austerity-weary citizens under the terms of the country's 240-billion euro international bailout.

In a deeply unpopular move, Athens raised low-voltage electricity prices by an average 8.8 percent in January, following a 12 percent increase last year.

(Reporting by Harry Papachristou; Editing by David Cowell)