ECONOMY

Shockingly high power bills

shockingly-high-power-bills

Never since the whole of Greece got connected to the electricity grid in the 1960s have power bills been such a matter of concern to so many households.

The one and only supplier, Public Power Corporation, with its cheap lignite fuel and social rates, turned electricity into a relatively cheap commodity that was soon taken for granted. That is not the case anymore.

There are currently 18 active power providers and over 75 household rates. The differences between them are minor, well hidden in the fine print and in algorithms that are only understood by those who have made them. Still, giving some thought to your choice of supplier and package is only natural these days, considering the soaring cost of energy.

In May the wholesale rate of electricity rose to 65 euros per megawatt-hour, from €45/MWh in 2020. By November that had risen to €228.9/MWh and has exceeded €400/MWh this month.

Consequently, since the start of 2021, the wholesale cost of power has risen more than fourfold, but it is the hikes of November and December that will hit consumers hard in the bills to arrive in January and February – which is why the government is currently seeking more resources on top of the €700 million already spent on subsidizing bills further into the new year.

The pressure on rates has brought to the electricity market the kind of practices employed in other areas, such as in mobile phone services. Customer mobility from one supplier to another has grown in recent months as consumers monitor bills closely and seek out the cheapest provider, while for the first time there has been a return of consumers to the PPC fold.

In that context, consumer protection through a transparent pricing framework takes on a moral dimension too: Contracts will have to state clearly and in big letters all that consumers need to know about the deal they are about to sign, and clarify the final cost each consumer faces.

In that direction the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) is forcing providers to adopt standard contracts for their customers as of March 2022, following three arduous rounds of consultations with the market.