ECONOMY

Households curb electricity use

The financial crisis has forced Greek households to reduce their power consumption, while the number of unpaid electricity bills is increasing by the month.

Electricity use data compiled by grid operator DESMHE for the first seven months of the year show household and low-level commercial consumption declined by 2.45 percent year-on-year, while overall consumption dropped 1.60 percent.

At the end of July debts to the Public Power Corporation in the form of unpaid bills soared to 423 million euros, from 385 million at end-2010 and 285 million at end-2009. Some 100 million euros of the money owed concerns debts of at least six months old.

The problem is expected to get worse in the coming months, as a recent survey by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) found that six out of 10 Greek households were struggling to make ends meet.

To deal with the issue of outstanding debts by electricity consumers, the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) has offered some proposals for public consultation, to be concluded by September 2.