PPC categorizes €200-220m of arrears as uncollectible

The main power utility PPC, pressured by the energy ministry to better organize its collection effort for 2.2 billion euros of unpaid overdue electricity bills owed by consumers, has swept aside an amount of 200 million to 220 million euros as uncollectible. As energypress had recently reported, this amount primarily concerns enterprises that went out of business back in the 90s.

Despite knowing well that the arrears linked to these companies are no longer recoverable, PPC has refused to write them off as bad debts. Instead, the utility has continued to include them in the overall sum of amounts owed by consumers. The utility cites the 2.2 billion euros it is owed when attempting to justify its inability to reduce tariffs for consumers.

The sum just set aside by PPC as uncollectible includes arrears established by the now-defunct Piraiki Patraiki, once the country’s biggest textile industry, which went out of business in 1996. Fellow textile industry Egeo, an enterprise once run by the Karellas family and which has been shut since February, 1990, is another contributor to the sum of uncollectible arrears. Scores of defunct insurance and stock exchange trading companies – which flourished over a decade ago when the Athens bourse was attracting capital amounts from small-time amateur investors looking for quick returns – also make up part of the uncollectible amount.

Energy minister Panos Skourletis has demanded a clearer picture of PPC’s arrears as part of an effort aiming to reduce electricity tariffs for consumers. “You can’t demand money from skeletons,” an energy official commented.

For the time being, PPC is not prepared to officially write off these amounts as bad debt.

Meanwhile, PPC will report its financial figures for 2015 later today. A recent Investment Bank of Greece report forecast a turnover reduction of 9.7 percent to 1.32 billion euros and a 0.6 percent incease in total operational costs to 1.21 billion euros. The same report expects PPC’s EBITDA figure to fall by 53 percent to 107.2 million euros.