PPC discount offer to begin on July 1, chief official confirms

Main power utility PPC will begin offering a 15 percent discount on electricity bills to customers with punctual payment records as of July 1, the utility’s chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis confirmed today.

During his announcement, the PPC chief once again called on customers with arrears to register for the utility’s softened installment-based payback program by the end of June to take advantage of the new discount offer. Customers servicing electricity bill arrears through PPC’s payback program will also be offered 15 percent discounts, along with punctual customers without any arrears.

The discount offer will apply for electricity bills issued as of July 1 for payments settled within deadlines as well as for payments made with slight delays of no more than three working days.

PPC’s discount offer will run indefinitely as part of its effort to reduce an alarming level of unpaid receivables and also to compete against rival independent suppliers seeking to penetrate the market.

According to Panagiotakis, PPC is currently owed 380 million euros in high-voltage electricity bills, 260 million euros by the public sector, and 1.75 billion euros by medium and low-voltage customers, including defunct accounts. Taking defunct accounts away, the total debt owed by medium and low-voltage customers is 1.45 billion euros, he said.

Panagiotakis noted that PPC is focusing to improve its collections in the medium and low-voltage categories, which make up the bulk of the 2.4 billion euros owed to the utility.

The PPC boss noted that he favors an electricity market of more suppliers as long as market conditions do not create unfair competitition. PPC is currently engaged in talks with alternative independent suppliers for the adoption of common objectives and market regulations, Panagiotakis said.

The utility head anticipates that the intensifying competition in Greece’s electricity market will be more effective in reducing PPC’s market share, a bailout demand, than the upcoming NOME auctions. These will provide third parties with access to PPC’s low-cost lignite and hydropower sources as part of the bailout-related obligations intended to break the utility’s dominance.

Panagiotakis noted that PPC’s NOME-related strategy will be influenced by the starting price to be set following a proposal by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy. A starting price level of around 30 euros would apply major pressure on PPC, the utility chief said, adding that, even so, the corporation will be able to deal with the challenge.

The PPC head revealed that the utility, seeking ways to boost revenues amid the intensifying local competition and bailout demands for a drastic market share reduction, is preparing to establish a subsidiary firm in Albania for investments in the neighboring country.

Considerable needs exist in Albania in network infrastructure development as well as thermal electricity production, he noted.