Tougher PPC action needed on arrears, Brussels report warns

The main power utility PPC needs to take additional measures to improve its troubling unpaid receivables record, the European Commision has stressed in a compliance report, while also warning of the utility’s financial state.

The report makes reference to a chronic inability by the state-controlled utility to collect overdue electricity bill amounts, noting its unpaid receivables need to be managed more effectively through the adoption of measures such as power supply cut orders and efforts to minimalize electricity theft.

The report makes reference to a sum of 360 million euros offered to PPC for Public Service Compensation (YKO) amounts concerning the period between 2012 and 2016.

It also makes note of delays witnessed in the development of island interconnection projects, consequently burdening consumers in Greece with higher Public Service Compensation surcharges, used to help cover the high cost of localized electricity generation on non-interconnected islands.

Action taken through the third bailout’s third review by the country’s lenders resulted in payments to PPC totaling 436 million euros by the end of 2017, which has helped improve and bolster the utility’s standing, the Brussels report noted.

PPC’s size, market dominance and control by the Greek State are three factors that have contributed significantly to a distorted regulatory system that has not been dealt with for years, the compliance report stressed.

The report reminded that PPC incurred significant first-half operating losses in 2017, attributing these to several main reasons, including an inability by the utility to collect arrears, both in the private and public sectors; the accumulation of Public Service Compensation demands since 2012; as well as a 15-percent discount offered to punctual customers well over a year ago.