European Commission opens antitrust probe into Greek state-owned utility


The European Commission is investigating whether Greek national utility the Public Power Corporation (PPC) abused its dominant position in the wholesale electricity sector by using “predatory bidding strategies.”

The commission yesterday announced it had opened an antitrust investigation into the state-owned power company, and said the alleged conduct, if proven, may have slowed green energy investment.

Margrethe Vestager, the commission executive vice president in charge of competition policy, said yesterday: “We all rely on well-functioning electricity markets. Today we are launching an investigation of PPC's behavior in wholesale electricity markets in Greece, that might have distorted competition and slowed down investment into the generation of greener energy. Greece has recently embarked on an ambitious plan to exit from lignite. Ensuring effective competition is the best way to deliver competitively priced electricity, both for citizens and businesses, as well as to stimulate investment in less polluting energy sources.”

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PPC, which is majority owned by the Greek government, is said to hold more than two-thirds of the market for supplying electricity to retail and business customers and owns all of the nation's lignite and hydropower plants, as well as some natural gas and clean power assets.

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