Gas sys­tem stretched to lim­its

DEPA warns it may be un­able to meet ad­di­tional de­mand by elec­tric­ity pro­duc­ers due to cold weather

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY CHRYSSA LIAGGOU

En­ergy au­thor­i­ties have been in emergency mode over the last few days to en­sure a suf­fi­cient sup­ply of elec­tric­ity and nat­u­ral gas to Greece, as a pro­longed cold spell has shot de­mand up to record lev­els and the gas net­work is op­er­at­ing with­out re­serves, de­spite the op­er­a­tion of the new de­pot on Re­vit­houssa is­land.

The lack of a safety net emerged in a let­ter sent by the Pub­lic Gas Cor­po­ra­tion (DEPA) to the Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity for En­ergy on Tuesday, in which the util­ity’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Dim­itris Tzortzis, ad­mit­ted that DEPA is un­able to set aside any re­serves for clients that pro­duce elec­tric­ity us­ing gas as fuel. He also im­plied that this sit­u­a­tion is due to a lack of plan­ning on be­half of gas grid op­er­a­tor DESFA to com­mis­sion ad­di­tional quan­ti­ties and by de­lays in the de­liv­ery of the third ter­mi­nal on Re­vit­houssa.

A RAE de­ci­sion dated De­cem­ber 20 stip­u­lated that gas-pow­ered elec­tric­ity pro­duc­ing units that do not have an al­ter­na­tive fuel source (i.e. diesel) are obliged to store re­serves at the third ter­mi­nal on Re­vit­houssa, which would cover their op­er­a­tion over five days for con­tin­gency pur­poses dur­ing win­ter.

How­ever, DEPA warned in its let­ter to RAE that no such plan has been put in place to amass the needed re­serves. It said that if it were to com­mit any gas quan­ti­ties as se­cu­rity stock at this stage, it would risk the smooth sup­ply of its clients due to very high con­sump­tion rates prompted by the cold weather.

This ap­pears to be con­tra­dic­tory, given that the se­cu­rity re­serves are meant to cover ex­actly such an emergency. DEPA says cover­age of the needed re­serves would re­quire the plan­ning and pro­cure­ment of sup­ple­men­tary loads, a process that has been af­fected “crit­i­cally and neg­a­tively by un­cer­tainty con­cern­ing when the op­er­a­tion of the third ter­mi­nal at the Re­vit­houssa in­stal­la­tions will start,” it said in its let­ter to RAE.

To en­sure the sus­tain­abil­ity of sup­ply, DEPA has also brought for­ward a liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas load that had been sched­uled to ar­rive at the end of the month.

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