BUSINESS

Unpaid bills generate cash crisis across the local electricity sector

CHRYSSA LIAGGOU

TAGS: Energy

The specter of a financial blackout haunts Greece’s electricity market, as Public Power Corporation (PPC) and the country’s 17 alternative suppliers are trying to plug a hole of more than 800 million euros.

PPC, a former monopoly that still serves over 80 percent of consumers, is in the red and its cash flow has run dry. As a result it has again started withholding a part of the cash it collects from power bill payments that should end up in the accounts of power grid operator ADMIE and electricity distribution network operator DEDDIE. The sector’s other suppliers are also in the red or on the brink thereof.

The source of the problem is PPC’s inability to collect overdue debts from electricity bills that are close to 3 billion euros and to a great extent due to the loose policy imposed by the overseeing ministers.

Consequently, PPC is now refusing to pass on the money for regulator levies, toward ADMIE and DEDDIE, transmitting the liquidity problem to the entire market. Based on data included in PPC’s intermediary financial report for the first half of the year, its obligations to ADMIE alone amount to more than 510 million euros, while another 290 million euros is owed to DEDDIE.

The Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) invited PPC to a hearing with ADMIE with DEDDIE on the issue of monies withheld from third parties last spring, but PPC has still not met its obligations. A decision has already been reached for the imposition of fines, the amount of which will be announced soon. The problem has recently increased and the main argument that PPC’s management has put forward to RAE is that it has a liquidity problem due to unpaid bills and that it has been forced to prioritize payments.

RAE has also summoned four small alternative suppliers to a hearing for not paying their dues, and has the right to revoke their licenses.

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