Electricity suppliers raise range of concerns, call for action

Electricity users shifting suppliers and leaving behind accumulating unpaid bills, a growing reliance, by supplier-blacklisted consumers, on the country’s universal electricity supply service, as well as electricity bill surcharges suppliers are required to forward to the state, regardless of whether customers have paid their energy bills or not, are some of the key problems distorting the electricity market and resulting in cash-flow problems, suppliers have noted, calling for immediate state intervention.

Current market rules concerning customer shifts from one supplier to another lack restrictions and, as a result, have encouraged a growing number of non-punctual customers to flee and leave behind unpaid bills, which have reached perilous levels and usually develop into bad debt, energy firm representatives participating at the recent Power & Gas Forum in Athens highlighted.

Another issue troubling the sector is the government’s electricity subsidy support policy for businesses using up to 35 kVA and bakeries. Suppliers are temporarily covering these subsidies but extreme delays concerning state reimbursements are being reported. These sums add up to hundreds of millions of euros for the sector, severely impacting cash flow.

Current price-setting rules in the retail electricity market, requiring suppliers to announce their tariffs for each forthcoming month by the 20th of every preceding month, are also troubling market players, as Panos Nikou, CEO at energy retailer Volterra, told the Power & Gas Forum. “We can’t just gamble on the 20th of each month,” Nikou remarked, describing the price-setting rules as high-risk and often loss-incurring for suppliers.