BUSINESS

PPC aims to halt widespread fraud in its Social Tariff scheme

CHRYSSA LIAGGOU

Public Power Corporation head Manolis Panagiotakis said that as of next year Social Tariff beneficiaries who owe the company more than 10,000 euros will have their electricity supply cut off.

TAGS: Energy

Public Power Corporation (PPC) is demanding a review of the criteria that customers must satisfy to qualify for the Social Tariff, in order to put a stop to those who fraudulently take advantage of the system at the expense of the power company and other consumers who cover the cost of the very low tariff.

PPC head Manolis Panagiotakis announced the company’s demand on Monday while presenting figures from a PPC survey that illustrates the distortions created by the existing institutional framework.

For instance, Panagiotakis referred to the case of one power consumer who had signed up for the program who was later found to be the owner of a 1,000 square meter mansion in the leafy northern Athens suburb of Kifissia. His usage came to 8,000 kilowatt/hours per four-month period and he now owes the company 28,000 euros. Another case concerns a former shipowner in Piraeus who owns a detached house of 760 sq.m. and is registered as unemployed. He was consuming some 7,400 Kwh/four-month period and now owes 32,000 euros.

The PPC head spoke of a multitude of such cheats who benefit from the subsidized rates while admitting that the company was also partly to blame: “Until now we had a viewpoint that was wrong, thinking that when someone has signed up for the Social Tariff we could not cut off their supply. We had other priorities,” he said, warning of a change in tactics from next year.

“We have decided that consumers who owe in excess of 10,000 euros will be cut off,” Panagiotakis announced, although he underscored that stopping the power supply to Social Tariff beneficiaries has strict limitations and is not allowed between November and April.

He added that in the next few days he will visit the head of the Independent Authority for Public Revenue, Giorgos Pitsilis, to submit to him the findings of the PPC survey so that they can be examined by the competent mechanisms of the state.

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