Independent electricity suppliers, pressured by lower revenue figures and increased bad-debt risk as consumers, mainly businesses, struggle to pay their bills, have not been able to offer tariff reductions in response to the dramatic drop in the cost of electricity production brought about by lower natural gas prices.
The System Marginal Price, reflecting, to a certain degree, the cost of electricity, averaged 28 euros per MWh in April, down from 62.4 euros a year earlier.
This sharp drop has been attributed to the increased grid participation of natural gas-fired power stations, using low-cost LNG, as well as renewable energy units.
On the downside for independent suppliers, electricity demand fell by 14 percent in April, further aggravating their cash flow predicament.
Electricity bill payments have dropped considerably amid the lockdown, falling by as much as 50 percent in April, suppliers have informed.
Power utility PPC, which has traditionally battled bad-debt problems, is the least affected, its electricity bill collections falling by approximately 25 percent. This has been attributed to the company’s client base, comprised mostly of households and high-voltage consumers.
On the contrary, independent suppliers, suffering far sharper revenue drops, serve many small and mid-size businesses, badly affected by the lockdown.
Households have consumed greater amounts of electricity during the lockdown and generally serviced their bills.
It is feared some 100,000 enterprises may go out of business in the next few weeks. This would be a major setback for independent electricity suppliers.