An investigation being conducted by main power utility PPC to distinguish truly financially troubled households from those able but not willing to pay overdue electricity bills, strongly indicates that between 800,000 euros and 1.3 euros of overdue consumer arrears owed to the utility, roughly half the total amount, concern households possessing the ability to service their power bill debts. Instead, they are taking advantage of the deep recession’s wider disarray and refusing to cooperate with PPC.
Overdue consumer arrears owed to PPC, up dramatically over the past few years, now exceed two billion euros in total, an alarming level that threatens to derail the corporation and also destabilize the country’s entire energy sector.
The PPC investigation aims to establish a clearer picture of the uncooperative yet able households with the aim of making the collection effort more effective. New cross-examining data systems, correlating consumption patterns and property sizes, have been adopted by the corporation as part of the hunt, to moderate success so far.
Overdue consumer arrears owed to PPC by households that have been completely flattened by the recession are estimated at 1.2 billion euros. The figure includes small and large enterprises that have gone out of business and households with either drastically reduced or no income.
Guided by its investigation’s findings, PPC intends to target its collection drive on the arrears generated by housholds that have remained financially stable amid the recession but chosen to avoid paying their power bills or, further still, neglect payback schemes, through installments, offered by PPC. The Greek state ranks as one of PPC’s biggest debtors.
PPC has threatened to apply a more ruthless power supply policy for debtors. In some cases, debtors have agreed to payback terms, covered first installments to avoid power cuts, and then stopped paying again. The utility is pushing to restrict consumers with arrears from shifting to rival power companies, now that the Greek electricity market is being opened up to competition.