Minister fuels personal clash with power utility chief

Minister fuels personal clash with power utility chief

The issue of debts resulting from unpaid electricity bills is evolving into a major bone of contention between the Energy Ministry and Public Power Corporation.

A day after PPC announced it would cut the electricity supply of debtors who refuse to settle their debts, Minister Panos Skourletis distanced himself from the power utility’s policy, fueling a personal clash with PPC head Manolis Panayiotakis.

“I proposed to Mr Panayiotakis that PPC might consider not issuing a bill every couple of months, but, rather, do so every month, like its market rivals do. This would make it easier for consumers to pay the smaller dues and allow PPC to collect cash faster,” Skourletis told Real FM radio on Tuesday. PPC had referred to the same issue on Monday, saying that if it were to issue monthly bills, the additional cost of doing so would be 20 million euros per year.

In the aforementioned interview the minister implied that PPC has mishandled the issue of unpaid bills, saying that it continues to report the debts of companies that shut down years ago. He also distanced himself from the solution of disconnection for small consumers, implying that PPC could increase its takings by chasing up the big consumers who also have the biggest debts.

Skourletis and Panayiotakis have also been at odds in recent months over the privatization of grid operator ADMIE and the reduction of PPC’s market share.

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