Tougher supplier switch rules for consumers being prepared

The energy ministry is preparing to introduce tougher electricity supplier-switch rules for consumers with electricity bill arrears.

Some 83,000 former power utility PPC customers managed to find ways to abandon the utility while owing unpaid electricity bills worth a total of at least 164 million euros, industry data has shown. Worse still, the problem appears to be getting worse.

Besides PPC, independent suppliers are also experiencing the pinch of fleeing customers at a growing rate. The value of unpaid bills left behind by independent supplier customers has reached between two and three percent of total revenues, data has shown.

Though former energy minister Panos Skourletis had decided to toughen up on electricity supplier hoppers back in May, 2015, the current energy ministry, the PPC board and independent suppliers all believe the rules can be stricter.

Consumers running away from their electricity bill debts appear to be exploiting rule deficiencies discovered in supplier payback programs offering debt settlement through monthly installments. Once registered for these payback programs, consumers are able to switch suppliers.

In other cases, electricity consumers – especially enterprises – looking to vanish from supplier radars are changing tax file numbers.