Main opposition MP attacks coalition on all energy fronts

The head official on energy matters at Syriza, the leftist main opposition party, unleashed a relentless attack against the coalition government’s energy policies, on all fronts, in Parliament yesterday.

Increased electricity bills charged by PPC, the Public Power Corporation, plans for its part-privatization, as well as the promotion of private-sector interests were among the aspersions cast by the Syriza official, Thanassis Petrakos, an MP representing Messinia, in Greece’s southwest.

During his address in Parliament, delivered as part of a three-day vote of confidence debate for the coalition, Petrakos condemned the coalition of having worsened an already extremely expensive electricity supply system created by “your previous governments”, referring to the coalition’s conservative New Democracy and socio-democratic PASOK parties. The Syriza party MP argued that this had led to an electricity cost increase of 103 percent for households and 76 percent for businesses over the past 12-year period.

As a result, power supply had been cut off for 312,343 households in Greece throughout 2013, according to figures provided by HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator – locally referred to as DEDDIE – Petrakos remarked. The Syriza MP noted that consumers were spared of power disconnections only one week ahead of the European Parliament elections, as a pre-elections period favor.

The amount of unpaid electricity bills had reached 1.8 billlion euros, while thousands of poverty-stricken households were unable to pay their electricity bills, including readjusted terms for these, Petrakos told Parliament.

Syriza’s head official for energy matters also asserted that PPC, the Public Power Privatization, was headed towards part-privatization to serve the interests of energy-sector entrepreneurs.

Petrakos condemned the coalition for selling out on the country’s natural gas interests, referring to the imminent privatization of DESFA, the Natural Gas Transmission System Operator.

He also accused the coalition of leading thousands of small-scale photovoltaic producers to despair. They were promised plenty but were eventually devastated, he contended, while noting that large-scale PV producers had been protected.