OPINION

The air-conditioner crime

Greeks are so used to the likelihood of a power blackout that they have adopted the English word for it. «Blackouts» have now become part of our everyday life, especially in summer, but adopting the term goes along with adopting something irrational. We are prepared to accept blackouts in some areas. Indeed, consumers are blamed for them because they have the bad habit of using air conditioners when the weather is hot. This is irrational. The Public Power Corporation (PPC) is the only monopoly in the world that urges its customers to curb consumption, thus decreasing its sales. In normal circumstances PPC would try to persuade the public to use more electricity. But it cannot do so because in recent years governments have resorted to the easy solution of keeping the cost of domestic electricity low. The difficult solution is to develop other sources of energy. We haven’t done so. Instead, Germany produces more solar energy than Greece. Instead, Denmark generates more wind power than Greece. It’s easy to keep up the excessive mining of lignite deposits in Kozani. It’s difficult to develop a reliable system that would not confine electricity production to northern Greece. It’s even more difficult to charge more for electricity in Crete than in Macedonia, which is why nobody has dared to do so. The fact is that the cost of electricity in Crete is also far higher because the Cretans don’t like power stations. And since the price of electricity is a political decision, no photovoltaic installations are being built, not even in areas with the greatest hours of sunlight, such as Rhodes, Crete and other islands. And they expect electricity produced far away from oil or lignite to run air conditioners when there is no heat wave.