Greek Parliament Approves Splitting, Selling of PPC

greek parliamentThe Greek Parliament has approved a bill splitting state utility Public Power Corporation (PPC) by carving away a subsidiary and selling it to private investors.

The Parliament’s first summer session, consisting of one-third of the total of 300 MPs, approved the bill with 51 in favor, 46 against and one MP voting “present.”

The new subsidiary will account for about 30% of the corporation’s power production capacity.

On Wednesday, Energy Minister Yannis Maniatis defended the plan as “one of the biggest reforms that has been discussed in our parliament over the last years.”

“I believe it is for the benefit of our national economy, of Greek society, of our country,” Maniatis told lawmakers before calling on them to back the bill, which allows Greece to spin off 30 percent of the power utility next year.

PPC generates about two-thirds of Greece’s electricity output and controls almost 100 percent of the retail market. Its annual sales are about 6 billion euros.

It is also one of the world’s biggest miners of lignite, a soft, brown coal seen as a heavy polluter.

Opposition parties have vigorously opposed the split and sale while asking for a referendum on the issue. Though they appear highly unlikely to gather the 180 votes required in Parliament for a referendum to take place.