The Minister for Environment and Energy, Kostis Hatzidakis sounded the alarm about the dire condition the Public Power Corporation (PPC) was in, warning it was on the brink of collapse in an interview.
Hatzidakis accused the previous SYRIZA-ANEL government of implementing failed policies that resulted in PCC recording huge losses while expressing concerns of large scale blackouts due to the situation.
Conveying a sense of the utmost urgency, Mr. Hatzidakis likened PPC to a “patient in intensive care”. “Listen, at this stage, we are in the rescue phase. When someone is in intensive care we do not ask when he will dance. We ask when he will get well. I have three anxieties with PPC: To avoid a blackout. To get through September 24th – when the next auditor’s report, by Ernst & Young, on the business viability comes out. And thirdly, to agree with the European Commission on structural measures in the energy market by 31 October. These are my first concerns. You are aware that we have already announced 10 steps in the direction of saving and resolving the business, where the role of the new PPC administration, which will be called upon to specialise and implement the measures, will be crucial.
In the interview, he went on to blast the SYRIZA-ANEL government or their failed policies: “First they abandoned the Samarra government’s “small PPC” plan – which provided for the privatisation of 1/3 of the company, the money from which would boost its resolution. They played theatre pretending to defend its public character. They virtually promoted free privatisation, with the inconceivable reduction of its market share from 90% to 50%, without the slightest financial compensation, with the company working 4 years now losing customers! They adopted the NOME, the electricity auctions, where PPC was selling below cost to its competitors, with losses exceeding 600 million!
“This led the company, from €90 million profits in 2014, to €900 million losses in 2018 and its share to lose 83% of its market value in four years. And a few months ago, Ernst & Young, the auditor, warned in its annual report that the company was facing immediate sustainability issues. You understand that we are talking about a combination of failed and wrong choices that led the company to bankruptcy”, he said.
On the issue of whether anyone would be held accountable for the failed policies, Mr. Hatzidakis said that was the responsibility of the Justice System.