PPC arrears ‘utility’s fault, cannot stop consumer moves’

Main power utility PPC is ultimately responsible for the steady and lasting accumulation of overdue unpaid electricity bills owed by consumers and cannot use this predicament as an obstacle to prevent consumers from transferring to other power suppliers now that Greece’s retail electricity market is being opened up to competition, a major vertically integrated company active in electricity supply has noted in its contribution to public consultation procedures conducted by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, on unpaid electricity bill management and the market’s restructuring. The public consultation procedure’s deadline expired on Monday.

The company noted the electricity supply sector’s cash flow problems are limited to PPC and are the result of its tolerant approach to consumer arrears for many years. It added that any claims of an emergency situation at PPC cannot be made as the corporation posted significant profit in 2014 and a further increase in the first half of 2015 compared to the previous year’s equivalent period, meaning that measures are not required.

Effective management of overdue unpaid bills requires an organized monitoring effort by suppliers that is driven by objectives and actions, including efforts to collect overdue amounts through all legal means, the company noted.

PPC currently holds a 94 percent share of Greece’s retail electricity market. Based on bailout demands, the utility will need to reduce this share to less than 50 percent by 2020.

Latest reports on PPC’s arrears put the rising amount at 2.5 billion euros, roughly double the utility’s current bourse value. PPC’s arrears figure shot up by half a billion euros over the past six months.