Trade unions of the state power company EAC will next week ask their members to endorse “dynamic measures” – usually code for “strikes” – in protest at government plans to open up the electricity market.
The syndicates are opposed to the government’s proposal – already in progress – to make the Transmission System Operator (TSO) a full independent agency.
The TSO, which monitors transmission and production, is currently dependent on seconded staff from the EAC.
The TSO argues this needs to change, as seconded EAC technicians cannot possibly be given access to electricity competitors’ proprietary data once the market is opened.
In addition, it’s understood the government intends to empower the TSO to act as a ‘Market Operator’.
This would enable the TSO to interface with independent power producers, thus ending the EAC’s monopoly.
Andreas Panorkos, head of the powerful Epopai union, on Thursday accused the government of forcing through its plans without consulting the state power company.
He said the energy ministry is lying when it claims that the EAC unions were consulted on the pending changes to the electricity market model.
And according to Panorkos, during a closed-doors session of House commerce committee, the ministry conceded that the changes would drive up the cost of electricity anywhere from 20 to 30 per cent.
Under the model envisaged by the government, an intermediate period to full competition will be ushered in by allowing private energy producers – mainly from renewable energy sources – to sell their electricity through monthly, bilateral contracts.
As it stands, July 2019 is the target date for full market liberalisation.