Supplier switching burdens sector with extra €300-400m in unpaid receivables

Electricity users switching suppliers and leaving behind unpaid bills have burdened the sector with an additional 300 to 400 million euros in unpaid receivables over the past couple of years, a major issue impacting cash-flow in the sector, a leading official has noted.

Giannis Mitropoulos, general manager at ESPEN, the Greek Energy Suppliers Association, speaking at a news conference, referred to energy supplier Fysiko Aerio as a typical example, noting that 50 percent of the company’s unpaid receivables concern customers who have switched supplier.

Most electricity retailers have seen their unpaid receivables figures roughly double over the past couple of years or so as a result of loosened regulations concerning customer switching.

Back in 2020, the Council of State, the Supreme Administrative Court of Greece, abolished rules restricting customers with outstanding debt from switching suppliers.

The problem for suppliers was further exacerbated by a recent retail market rule, introduced last August, enabling electricity users to switch suppliers as frequently as once a month, without any subsequent penalties.

In an effort to combat the problem, ESPEN is working on a collective data base that will enable suppliers to monitor the track records of any prospective new customers. The association intends to launch the monitoring system in about a year’s time. The telecommunications sector has already adopted such a protection tool.