Despite having taken a series of initiaves over the past year or so, including softer payback terms and an electricity bill discount for punctual customers, the main power utility PPC, owing plenty and also owed plenty, has not been able to improve its massive unpaid receivables problem, stuck at no less than 2.4 billion euros.
The utility’s chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis, who presented detailed figures earlier this week, stressed that PPC’s collection drive has reached its limit.
The 2.4 billion-euro total does not include amounts linked to payback arrangements, through monthly installments, which PPC has stopped adding to its unpaid receivables grand total. This sub-category of debtors would add many millions more to the amount owed to the utility.
PPC’s unpaid receivables in the low-voltage category currently stand at 1.66 billion euro, 331 million euros in the mid-voltage sector, and 205 million euros in the medium-voltage category. In addition, the public sector owes 210 million euros, bringing the total to 2.4 billion euros.
Experience has shown that customers registering for PPC’s payback programs, ensuring continued electricity supply, tend to cough up two or three monthly installments before stopping payments.
First-half collections dropped by 1.5 percent compared to the equivalent period last year, Panagiotakis told, which highlights the failure of various collection initiatives to deliver.
PPC is expected to soon announce its selection of a consultant to be hired in an effort to improve the utility’s perilous unpaid receivables problem. The power company recently staged a tender for this task.
As for the company’s bailout-related market share contraction requirement, it is insisting with a plan to carve out and sell a new company, perhaps companies, with existing customers on board.
Earlier this week, the PPC chief announced that a package of 500,000 customers – instead of the 300,000 to 400,000 originally noted by the utility – has been prepared. These customers represent 7 percent of the country’s total electricity consumption. It remains questionable whether these customers would remain with any new suppliers they could be transferred to.