Public Power Corporation S.A. (PPC) is the biggest power producer and electricity supply company in Greece with approximately 7.4 million customers. PPC currently holds assets in lignite mines, power generation, transmission and distribution. PPC’s current power portfolio consists of conventional thermal and hydroelectric power plants, as well as RES units, accounting for approximately 68% of the total installed capacity in the country.
After the spin-off of the Transmission and Distribution segments, two 100% subsidiaries of PPC were created, namely IPTO S.A. (Independent Power Transmission Operator S.A.) and HEDNO S.A. (Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator S.A.). IPTO S.A. is responsible for the management, operation, maintenance and development of the Hellenic Electricity Transmission System and its interconnections, while HEDNO S.A. is responsible for the management, operation, development and maintenance of the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network.
In 2012, the total installed capacity of PPC generation plants was 12.5 GW. At the end of 2012, the number of permanent employees amounted to 19.998.
PPC is active in the RES sector through its subsidiary company “PPC Renewables S.A.” (PPCR), with a portfolio of wind farms, small scale hydroelectric plants and photovoltaic plants of total installed capacity of 116 MW (excluding the plants that PPCR participates through joint ventures, with 29 MW of their installed capacity accounting for PPCR).
Founded in 1950, PPC is listed on the Athens and London Stock Exchange as of December 2001.
In 1889 'electricity' came to Greece. The General Contracting Company built the first electrical power plant in Athens, in Aristidou Street. The "Palace" was the first building to be illuminated and electrical lighting was very soon spread to the historical centre of the capital. Thessaloniki, at the time still under Turkish occupation, was to see electrical light in the same year, when a Belgian Company was commissioned by the Turkish authorities to build a power plant to illuminate the city and supply power to a tram network.
Ten years later multinational electricity companies made their appearance in Greece. The American company Thomson - Houston, together with the National Bank of Greece, founded the Hellenic Electricity Corporation which undertook the electricity supply of other major Greek cities. By 1929, 250 cities with a population of over 5,000 were supplied with electrical power.
In the most remote areas, where major companies found it unprofitable to build power plants, the supply of electricity was undertaken by local authorities or individuals who constructed small-scale power plants.
In 1950 there were about 400 companies in Greece involved in the generation of electrical energy. The raw material they used was fuel oil and coal which, of course, were both imported from abroad.
This fragmented power generation, together with the imports of fuel, pushed the price of electricity very high (three or even five times higher than the prices in other European countries). Electricity was thus a luxury good, although, in most cases, it was supplied only during specific hours in the day and sudden power outages were quite common.
Industrial and rural needs imposed the uniform electrification of the country. In this view, the following conditions had to be met:
- Utilization of domestic resources, which entailed huge investments that could not be undertaken by individual power generators.
- Integration of power generation into a single interconnected system which would ensure the allocation of loads on a national scale.
- Creation of a single organization which would enable the allocation of cost between profitable and loss making areas of the country.
PPC came to satisfy these conditions in a most satisfactory way.
Thus, in August 1950, the Public Power Corporation was established to operate 'in the interests of the public'. The aim of the new company was to develop and implement a national energy policy through the intensive exploitation of domestic resources, which would enable every Greek citizen to make use of electrical power at the lowest possible price.
Upon its establishment, PPC focused on the utilization of domestic energy resources and the integration of all networks into a national energy interconnected system. The rich lignite deposits which had already been discovered in the Greek subsoil began to be mined and used as the primary fuel in the lignite power plants constructed by PPC. At the same time, the Company constructed hydroelectric power plants at the country's major rivers in order to exploit the hydropotential of the country.
At a fairly early stage, in 1956, it was decided that all private and municipal power generation companies were to be bought out, in order to create an integrated management organization. Gradually, PPC bought out all these companies and integrated their personnel in its own staff.
Throughout these years, PPC strived for and achieved the country's energy autonomy, while accomplishing the most significant project of supplying Greece with electricity. At the same time, PPC has been developed to one of the bigger heavy industries of the country.
Electrical power was supplied throughout the country, from the most remote island to the most isolated village on the Greek mountains.