The government is granting the kind of favors that usually come about in Greece during pre-election periods; however, these favors come at the expense of Public Power Corporation, at a time when the electricity utility is fighting for its survival.
Just last week the government decided to extend the provision of electricity subsidies to farmers who are deemed “fake” (due to the fact that they do not fulfill the necessary criteria to be classified as such). The number of “fake farmers” is estimated at more than 30,000.
According to PPC figures, 230,000 households benefit from the reduced power rates for farmers that are 40 percent lower than ordinary rates for domestic consumers.
The rates for farmers are the only subsidized ones remaining after 2013, when Greece’s creditors demanded the abolition of such subsidies.
In 2014, in order to avoid the political problems the measure would entail, the government of Antonis Samaras negotiated a one-year postponement of the abolition with the creditors, arguing that it did not know the exact number of genuine farmers.
The extension of the subsidy continued at the expense of PPC’s troubled finances, and on September 27 Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis announced that the special farmers’ rates would be extended to May 2019.