Greek Electricity Monopoly Approved For New Power Facilities

Greece's Public Power Corp. SA has been given general approval to replace its stock of aging power generation facilities, the government said Saturday.

The decision allows PPC blanket approval to renew thermoelectric facilities which are up to 50 years old _ replacing a previous case-by-case approval system.

It does not cover the building of new power plants.

The decision was announced as the pro-business New Democracy government faces a tough re-election battle in Sept. 16 polls, and as PPC is set to face increasing competition as Greece liberalizes its electricity market.

"This ... allows for the complete renewal of its facilities whenever PPC wants, however much it wants, with the submission of one simple amendment," Nikos Stefanou, general secretary Greece's Development Ministry said.

"This gives PPC the opportunity to maintain its high market share in the long term."

PPC is 51 percent owned by the government, which also regulates electricity prices. The company's likely competitors include Spain's Endesa SA and Italy's Enel SpA and Edison SpA.