PPC asks for rate rise, gov’t declines

The Public Power Corporation (PPC) is proposing annual electricity rate hikes above inflation over the next six years and a drop in the annual cost per employee, in order to fund its investment program of 13 billion euros for the 2009-2014 period. The proposal forms part of the new business plan presented to PPC unionists yesterday and to be submitted today for approval by the governing board. Chairman and CEO Takis Athanassopoulos reportedly told unionists that PPC cannot be funded by credit in the current international situation, not to mention the company’s negative results. He claimed that PPC cannot talk to banks without having a plan that would guarantee the improvement of its finances. He revealed that the two-pronged plan provides for cutting operational costs by 500 million euros per year through rationalizing spending on salaries and renewing staff by lowering its workers’ average age, as well as ensuring that power rates reflect the full production costs and remain above the inflation rate every year. The government, however, made it clear yesterday that it does not intend to allow for new power rate hikes. «There will be no increase above what has already been announced,» Deputy Development Minister Stavros Kalafatis told Parliament yesterday.