PPC wants uncollected public service fees to make tariff cuts

Responding to a government request for a look into the possibility of reducing electricity bill tariffs, the main power utility PPC has noted such a prospect would only be feasible if it is provided with a Public Service Compensation (YKO) amount of approximately 600 million euros not collected in previous years.

PPC’s chairman and chief executive officer Manolis Panagiotakis stressed that a 93 million-euro YKO surplus amount last year, resulting from the fall in oil and natural gas prices, essentially covers just a fraction of the roughly 600 million euros not collected by PPC in previous years, when its operating costs were higher but the YKO surcharge was left unchanged to avoid electricity tariff increases.

Last year, the cost of electricity generation on non-interconnected islands, produced by ageing, low-efficiency local generators, amounted to 627 million euros, while PPC collected 720 million euros through the YKO surcharge included on electricity bills. PPC uses the YKO amounts to cover the cost of operating power generating units on non-interconnected islands.

The YKO surplus for 2016 may increase further as a result of low oil prices, meaning that electricity tariff reductions could come sooner.

Certain local market pundits linked PPC’s latest YKO-related comments to the corporation’s milder handling of troubled consumers with arrears. PPC’s revised and improved payback scheme for unpaid overdue amounts owed by consumers will be launched on April 1.

Yesterday, the PPC chief stressed that the utility’s unpaid receivables figure, which he put at 2.3 billion euros for 2015, remained a major problem for the corporation. He added that roughly 15 percent of the unpaid overdue amount, or 380 million euros worth of unpaid receivables concerning 220,000 consumers, was currently being inducted into the utility’s payback scheme, offering monthly installments.

As part of its collection effort, PPC, last October, began cutting electricity supply to consumers with arrears, prioritizing its targets based on the level of amounts owed, amount of time these arrears have been owed, and the financial ability of consumers to make payments. The utility believes a number of consumers with arrears are able but unwilling to pay. Roughly 50,000 consumers have had their power supply cut since October.