Tricks — and traps — of the trade

Apartment building administrators occupy a post that is supposed to rotate among apartment owners in a building, although it usually falls to one person over several years. Already put upon, they’re not happy with the government’s new plans. «There have been many protests. No one wants to give their own tax number (AFM),» said Christos Mitzolis, general director of the Athens Oil petroleum supply company. «Although the new measures do not require them to pay regular visits to the tax office, building administrators are not willing to put themselves out over this; many have been asking us to take on the building management,» he said. His firm has had a 150 percent increase in this kind of transaction since last year. In this case, it is the firm that supplies its own AFM, while all that is required of the apartment owners is the name of one of the owners. Meanwhile, consumers are expecting to be turning on the central heating for shorter periods this year. Mitzolis said he expects a 15 percent reduction in consumption. «When someone has a hard time even keeping up with maintenance costs of 10 euros a month, how can they be expected to pay 50-60 euros a month for heating fuel? Last year, we had the heating on in the building for eight to nine hours a day. This year we will only turn it on for two hours each evening,» he said. Then there is the problem of having to ensure that no fuel is «lost» during delivery to the home. Yiannis Pyrovolakis, an apartment building administrator, realized that the delivery truck driver had cheated him of some 10 tons of fuel by engaging him in conversation and distracting him during the delivery. Pyrovolakis lodged a complaint and the firm was eventually obliged to make good on the order. «I never take my eyes off the tank now,» he said, having learned his lesson. Experts say the best way to be sure is to measure the amount of fuel in the tank with a metal rod prior to delivery. The tank gauge and delivery truck gauge should only be used as an additional measure. No wonder there has been an increase in demand for natural gas (some 20 percent cheaper than petroleum fuel), despite limited access. According to the Attica Gas Supply Company, there were 2,409 applications for links to the network in September, a 300 percent increase over last year.