Now Greece is looking at an energy crisis
Greece's debt crisis threatened to turn into an energy crunch, with the power regulator calling an emergency meeting this week to avert a collapse of the country's electricity and natural gas system.
Regulator RAE called the emergency meeting on 1 June after receiving a letter from Greece's natural gas company DEPA, dated 31 May, threatening to cut supplies to electricity producers if they failed to settle their arrears with the company.
An energy crisis would add to the debt-stricken country's political and financial strains, threatening households and businesses with power cuts ahead of a 17 June election which may decide if the country will stay within the euro (see background).
The Greek government already risks running out of cash next month if it fails to receive fresh bailout funds from its lenders.
"RAE is taking crisis initiatives throughout next week to avert the collapse of the natural gas and electricity system," the regulator's chief, Nikos Vasilakos, told Reuters.
RAE has summoned DEPA and the affected companies to a meeting on 6 June, Vasilakos said.
According to an energy industry source who declined to be named, DEPA has no cash to settle gas supply bills worth a total €120 million with Italian gas firm Eni , Turkey's Botas and Russia's Gazprom, which fall due this month.
DEPA CEO Haris Sachinis declined to comment on the company's cash position but told Reuters: "DEPA is taking every action to avoid owing anything to its suppliers."
If DEPA cuts off supplies, Greece's independent power producers such as Elpedison, Mytilineos, Heron and Corinth Power - which cover about 30% of the country's power demand - would be forced to stop operations.
Power Plant in Greece via Shutterstock.
Read more at EurAcitv.com.