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UPDATE 1-EU approves Greek measures allowing PPC rivals access to electricity

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BRUSSELS, Sept 10 (Reuters) - EU competition regulators on Friday gave the green light to Greek measures allowing rivals of PPC access to electricity after an investigation found that the Greek power utility’s exclusive access to lignite-fired generation gave it an unfair advantage.

Greece has failed to divest some of PPC’s coal-fired plant to address EU’s concerns. PPC has shut down some of its lignite-powered plants and plans to phase them all out. Until that happens, Athens has proposed specific remedies.

The European Commission said PPC will sell quarterly forward electricity products on the European Energy Exchange (EEX) and Hellenic Energy Exchange (HEnEx), allowing rivals to source wholesale electricity on the forward market and hedge against price volatility.

PPC, which is 51% owned by the state, will obtain a net seller position on EEX and/or HEnEx, ensuring that sufficient volumes of wholesale electricity are made available to competitors.

The EU’s antitrust enforcer said the proposed remedies will lapse when existing lignite plants stop operating commercially, which is currently expected by 2023 or at the latest by December 2024. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; additional reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; editing by Jason Neely)

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