Public Power Corporation (PPC) data illustrate that Greek households and corporations are finding it increasingly difficult to pay their electricity bills. Total debts to the power utility from unpaid bills currently total some 1.3 billion euros, an amount which is growing at an average rate of 4 million euros per day.
The lion’s share of that debt is owed by low- and medium-voltage consumers – households and very small enterprises. The total arrears of these categories amount to an estimated 600 million euros, of which some 65 percent concerns households. The debts of the broader public sector amount to 190 million euros. The arrears of corporations connected to the medium-voltage network total some 130 million euros, while mining company Larco alone has run up debts of more than 135 million euros.
In an effort to make it easier for households to repay what they owe and to boost the cash inflow into its coffers, PPC introduced a flexible and extensive payment plan scheme last year that over 700,000 consumers have joined. The scheme has proven so popular that the utility has given its customers the option of securing a payment plan via telephone in order to reduce long queues at its offices, as staff had been unable to handle the volume of applications.
PPC customers can now complete the process over the phone, by calling 11770 and applying to pay 12 monthly installments along with a down payment of between 20 and 50 percent. The category of socially sensitive consumers (the unemployed, those with low incomes etc) can pay their dues in up to 40 installments. Consumers only have to go to PPC offices to pay their installments.
An estimated 7,500 households who had their supply cut off have now been reconnected thanks to a government decision to secure power for the country’s poorest households. There are, however, another 35,000 households, according to official figures, that have illegally reconnected their electricity supply, which is very dangerous.