Lighting up the islands a big cost for all

The cost of a kilowatt hour on Greek islands can cost as much as 1.75 euro, while the cost of an equivalent electricity unit on small islands with limited populations usually  ranges between half and one euro, records show.

This elevated cost is passed on to all electricity consumers through the Common Benefit Services charge, or YKO, which enables islanders to enjoy power use at the same rates paid by consumers linked to mainland grids, despite the higher cost of supplying electricity to the islands.

This surcharge can certainly be justified for supporting remote islands on the country’s periphery. The surcharge’s overall sum, which is not astronomical, serves to provide crucial support to isolated islands on the country’s edge, which, by extension, helps maintain local populations. Such efforts are worthy and need to be financed in every way possible.

However, the extent to which consumers must pay the price for high-cost electricity production on islands enjoying closer and more regular contact with the mainland, primarily as a result of larger populations, greater trade and strong tourism industries, such as the Cyclades and Crete, is another matter. Such islands ought to have been connected to the mainland’s power infrastructure long ago, which would have spared them from their reliance on petrol-fueled power stations and the environmental pollution these cause. Also, consumers in other parts of the country would be spared of the enormous amounts they are forced to cover for electricity supply to the islands.

The Regulatory Authority for Energy, RAE, which administrates the surcharge policy for accumulating funds needed to get electricity to the islands, set the figure for 2012 at 783.97 million euro, while, the figure for 2013 was 771.2 million euro. Over half of these amounts were used to cover the needs of the island of Crete.