Turkey's energy watchdog imposes cap on power prices

by Reuters
Friday, 6 January 2017 12:32 GMT

* EPDK sets price cap at 500 lira per MWh

* Energy minister says extra measures taken on infrastructure

* Gas flows from Iran continue, albeit below full capacity (Adds energy minister quotes, background)

ANKARA, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Turkey's energy watchdog EPDK imposed a two-month cap of 500 liras per megawatt hour on electricity prices on Friday after prices rose to their highest level in years.

Turkey's daily natural gas consumption has risen to record highs since December, largely due to colder-than-usual weather triggering higher power consumption.

The day-ahead electricity price at Turkey's energy exchange (EPIAS) rose to 586 lira ($162) per megawatt hour last month with hourly prices as high as 1,900 lira, data from the exchange showed. Such levels were the highest in years, traders said.

In a decision announced in the Official Gazette on Friday, Turkey's EPDK said a 500 liras ($138.06) per megawatt hour cap would be imposed on electricity prices from January 6 to March 1, 2017.

"With this decision, the EPDK is attempting to protect the consumer, supplier and producer from prices rising and falling unpredictably, and reduce the effects of seasonal weather conditions on energy prices," the EPDK said in a statement.

Day-ahead power price in EPIAS on Friday stood at 176.03 lira per MWh, data on its website showed.

Traders have criticised poor supply planning and lack of coordination by the state energy authorities.

State pipeline operator Botas has cut 75 percent of supplies to gas-fired power plants and advised industrial firms to cut non-critical output.

In addition to mounting demand triggered by persistent cold weather, Turkey decided not to set its clocks back as usual this winter which led to a rise in electricity consumption rather than the planned energy savings.

Heavy snow and storms severely damaged transmission lines last week, causing power cuts in many districts across Istanbul, Turkey's biggest city. Energy Minister Berat Albayrak said in three regions, teams have identified that underground power cables were cut and several suspects were detained.

Albayrak said four of the seven power transmission lines to Istanbul that were cut were now repaired while extra security measures were taken for key energy infrastructure to thwart potential attacks.

"There are no risks on the transmission lines at the moment," Albayrak said in an interview with broadcaster AHaber.

He added that gas flows from Iran, Turkey's second-largest natural gas supplier, continued albeit below full capacity after a technical problem in December.

A fresh cold snap is expected to hit Turkey late on Friday. ($1 = 3.6215 liras) (Reporting by Orhan Coskun and Akin Aytekin; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Daren Butler; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.