The main power utility PPC, struggling to cope with unpaid receivables of 2.77 billion euros, more than 50 percent of last year’s total turnover figure, has reduced its tolerance level and is now issuing power supply cut orders for consumers owing 500 euros or less.
Until recently, the power utility kept away from consumers owing electricity bill amounts up to 1,000 euros. To their surprise, PPC customers of this category have had to deal with power supply cut orders over the past month and a half.
Consumers who have missed out on servicing one or more monthly payback installments are among those targeted by PPC. In many cases, consumers have signed up for payback agreements in order to reinstall power supply only to stop honoring the arrangement soon after.
PPC is also hunting down customers who have employed an incredible array of tricks to remain elusive – including property transfers to other names.
Moreover, the power utility is pursuing households found to have been providing false information to qualify for subsidized electricity, reserved for vulnerable groups through the Social Residential Tariff (KOT) account. In some cases, multi-member families have provided false age information on children to qualify for KOT subsidies, PPC has determined. Family members aged as high 30 have been presented as underage children, the power utility found.
PPC’s more aggressive power supply cut policy is not linked to the work of Qualco, the debt collection services firm hired by the power utility to ease its unpaid receivables problem.
Qualco has so far raked in 25 million euros of unpaid receivables for PPC from a total of approximately 180 million euros owed to the utility by 65,000 customers selected for a pilot program awarded to the debt collector, according to details presented at PPC’s most recent board meeting a few weeks ago.
PPC’s initial collection target for the year is believed to have been set at at least 100 million euros. Qualco is believed to have promised to collect a further 450 million euros over the next nine months.