PPC rates up 2.74 pct

The Public Power Corporation (PPC) will put up electricity rates for households by an average of 2.74 percent as of November 1, amounting to an additional cost of about 1 euro per month, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas announced yesterday. After conferring with PPC’s top management, Sioufas said the increase in rates is lower than inflation and the lowest possible given the instability prevailing in the international fuels market. He pointed out that the last increase had taken effect on September 1, 2003. The net increase for PPC will be 2.5 percent, the remainder of 0.24 percent representing a levy in favor of renewable energy sources. Sioufas said PPC had asked for an increase of 3.6 percent to be approved. However, the final decision was reached in consultation with the Economy Ministry and after taking account of the recommendation of the Regulatory Authority of Energy (RAE) for increases below the inflation rate. Sioufas said the special rates for large families, which are 43 percent lower than normal, will be extended for consumptions from 3,000 kilowatts per quarter up to 4,500kW per quarter, depending on the number of children. Also, if the limit is exceeded, only the excess will be subject to the normal rates, unlike previously. The arrangement for large families will come into force on January 1. PPC President Yiannis Palaiokrassas said the corporation will hire 1,250 new staff in 2005-06, of whom 1,033 will be technicians and engineers, as part of a general plan to reduce the number of administrative employees. Further, the corporation plans to reduce the number of documents required for electricity connections.