Energy Minister says EAC de-nationalisation is a remote possibility

Energy Minister says EAC de-nationalisation is a remote possibility

The government is convinced that the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) must remain entirely in state hands, Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said on Monday.

The de-nationalisation of the semi-state power producer EAC, along with the Telecommunications Authority Cyta and the Ports Authority was a term of the €10bn loan facility Cyprus signed in 2013 with the troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

EAC trade unions warned last week that they would go on strike, citing unilateral decisions made by the Energy Minister concerning the future of the state power company.

“The possibility of privatising the organisation is remote” Lakkotrypis told the press after a meeting at the Presidential Palace, called by the President of the Republic.

The Energy Minister said that the paragraph of the bailout agreement which referred to the EAC had been moved from the “de-nationalisations” chapter to the “Energy”, clearly indicating the government’s intentions and the fact that “we are convinced by the results of the study (on the unbundling and ownership structure of the company) that the Electricity Authority must remain one hundred percent in state hands”.

He noted that the government must now make a decision over the best way of the semi-state enterprise`s effective and efficient unbundling. This, he said, will be discussed between the Government, the EAC board and the syndicates.

According to the Minister, the decision to be taken must be implemented within two years.

Lakkotrypis said that the government supports the idea of separating the operational and the accounting departments of the organisation, which is already being implemented by it.

Andreas Panorkos, President of EPOPAI trade union, said that the trade unions will engage in the dialogue in good faith, having confidence in the government. He also said that the accounting separation of the Authority is in the final stage.