HEDNO to use electricity theft reserve sum for operating costs

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO is expected to cover some of its operating costs using electricity theft reserve money, following a decision by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, approving the operator’s allowed regulatory income for 2021 to 2024.

The electricity theft reserve money to be used by the operator totals 10.04 million euros.

RAE considers appropriate the allocation of this amount for partial coverage of DEDDIE/HEDNO’s allowed regulatory income as the operator has not indicated it would utilize the sum for other matters.

According to provisions in network management rules, amounts collected in the electricity theft reserve may, following RAE approval, be used to offset financial losses of consumers as a result of network electricity theft, as long as there is no immediate need, or specific proposals by the network operator, to finance actions intended to improve electricity theft detection and limit such practices.

Smart meter installations to combat rising electricity theft

The replacement of conventional power meters around the country with digital power meters planned by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, a long-awaited project now scheduled to commence in 2022 and be completed by 2030, will reduce electricity theft by an average of 5.1 percent per year between 2020 and 2031, eventually reducing it to 0.2 percent of overall consumption, a level registered in 2003 and 2004, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy has projected.

Electricity theft in Greece has risen twentyfold over the past fifteen years. Even though DEDDIE/HEDNO has pointed out that the pandemic-induced economic slowdown since 2020 will raise obstacles in the effort to reduce electricity theft, RAE insists the installation of smart meters will directly combat the problem by enabling officials to swiftly identify where electricity theft is being committed.

Electricity theft in Greece has risen from 0.2 percent of overall consumption in 2003 and 2004, to 1.1 percent between 2011 and 2013, 3.9 percent in 2015 and 2016, and 4.4 percent in 2018 and 2019, official data has shown.


Electricity theft cost gradually shifted to operator DEDDIE

The cost for the market of electricity theft will be gradually shifted to distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, ridding suppliers and, indirectly, consumers, of this financial burden, according to a new formula for the operator’s required revenue established by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The operator will need to reduce, on an annual basis, its percentage of required revenue covering electricity theft losses until these have been eliminated. If annual electricity theft reduction objectives are not met, then the operator will assume the resulting cost. On the contrary, if these objectives are exceeded, then the operator will keep surplus amounts for the company coffers.

Representing between 4 and 5 percent of overall electricity consumption, electricity theft, a major problem for the Greek market, increased during the recession. The responsibility for its cost had even generated friction between power utility PPC and DEDDIE/HEDNO, the utility’s subsidiary.

RAE wants HEDNO incentives for combating electricity theft

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has proposed financial incentives for distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO as a means of clamping down on electricity theft.

The regulatory authority estimates the annual cost of electricity theft at 139 million euros, based on data concerning 2018, or 4.1 percent of the grid electricity inflow total.

According to the data, electricity thefts are stealing electricity amounts of approximately 1.7 TWh per year, whose resulting cost is burdening consumers.

Adoption of the RAE proposal through its incorporation into a new regulatory framework would offer the operator greater incentive to counter electricity theft, the authority believes.

RAE forwarded its proposal as part of current consultation on a new formula for DEDDIE/HEDNO’s revenues between 2021 and 2024.

Power utility PPC’s administration has requested a new regulatory framework for the distribution operator, a PPC-owned subsidiary, ahead of its privatization to offer investors a 49 percent stake.

A new regulatory framework, seen as promising security for investors, would complete DEDDIE/HEDNO’s business plan for 2020-2028.


Firmer handling of electricity theft resulting in reduction

Stricter measures and penalties imposed by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO to tackle electricity theft have produced encouraging signs of a slowdown, industry data has shown.

Twenty-three percent of consumers behind on electricity bill payments are settling their overdue amounts with one lump sum, while 87 percent are doing so through installments, Nikos Drosos, DEDDIE’s network users director, told a forum titled “Retail Electricity and Natural Gas Markets and Consumers”, staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, within the framework of the ongoing 84th Thessaloniki International Fair.

Some 60 percent of electricity bill debts are being serviced, 5 percent remain overdue, 15 percent are being examined and 20 percent are non-performing, latest data showed.

More effective documentation and firmer handling has led to greater compliance by offenders and a reduction of electricity theft cases, according to the DEDDIE official.




Operator DEDDIE must also pay for electricity theft cost, suppliers insist

The country’s independent electricity suppliers want DEDDIE/HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, to shoulder at least part of the resulting cost of electricity theft and grid leakage, contending the operator carries responsibility for the problem.

Independent suppliers regard the electricity theft and grid leakage-related  amounts they are responsible for covering as unfair and disproportionate. Amounts paid by suppliers are determined by their respective market shares.

The level of electricity theft in Greece has fallen for the first time in five years, new data has shown, meaning electricity suppliers can expect to be charged less for the financial repercussions of these system leakages. Even so, suppliers insist the operator should also take on part of the burden.

The Greek market’s total cost of electricity theft is expected to fall to approximately 60 million euros per year from 80 million euros, new data has indicated.

Independent electricity suppliers argue they cannot incorporate their electricity theft and grid leakage costs into tariffs as a result of the main power utility PPC’s overaggressive pricing policy.

Electricity theft down for first time in five years amid stricter checks

Levels of electricity theft have decreased for the first time in five years, indicating more frequent inspections carried out by DEDDIE/HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, and heftier penalties imposed by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, are producing results.

Electricity theft, or non-technical electricity losses, dropped to 3.2 percent of the grid’s total in 2017 compared to 4.2 percent a year earlier.

The grid’s non-technical electricity losses for 2017 reached approximately 1.23 million MWh, according to calculations made by energypress, as, unlike in preceding years, RAE has not released DEDDIE’s related figures. The non-technical electricity loss figure for 2016, announced in 2017, was 1,798,649 MWh.

DEDDIE estimated the cost of electricity theft in 2017 at 80 million euros, a figure now expected to fall.

The operator has increased its frequency of inspections in recent years as cases of electricity theft have risen sharply amid the Greek recession.

The country’s electricity theft rate was at 1.1 percent in 2012 and 2013, rose to 3.5 percent in 2014 and 2015, and reached 4.2 percent in 2016.

Electricity theft, unpaid receivables continue to plague PPC’s cash flow

Electricity theft and unpaid receiables are continuing to severely affect the main power utility PPC’s cashflow, related figures published yesterday by the super privatization fund have highlighted.

Electricity theft has risen by 270 percent since 2011, when unbilled consumption was estimated to be worth 359 million euros. This figure rose to 970 million euros in 2016, the figures showed.

The biggest rise in electricity theft was experienced in 2014, when unbilled electricity consumption rose to 826 million euros from 600 million euros. In 2015, unbilled electricity consumption rose by 138 million euros, to 964 million euros from 826 million euros.

As for bad debt forecasts, the figure rose from 634 million euros in 2011 to 2.766 billion euros in 2016. The worst years were 2015, when the bad debt forecast rose by 867 million euros; 2013, when the forecast rose by 362 million euros; and 2016, when it rose by 346 million euros.

RAE manual to combat rising electricity theft set for launch

A manual detailing action to be taken in cases of electricity theft, up alarmingly amid the persisting Greek recession, has been prepared by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, in accordance with new electricity network management regulations, and will soon be published in the government gazette, making it official, sources have informed.

Publication of the manual will complete the new operational framework that needs to be enforced by HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator.

Inspection details, electricity theft evaluation methods and other aspects are included in the manual’s content.

The new manual will enable HEDNO to impose retroactive charges going back as many as five years for unpaid electricity use. Higher tariffs, to reach as much as double normal levels, will apply for such cases. Electricity supply will be cut should offenders refuse to cover penalties.

Electricity theft cases have increased drastically amid Greece’s prolonged recession, despite an intensification of checks carried out by authorities.

According to official HEDNO data, a total of 10,616 cases of electricity theft were recorded in 2016, an all-time high, up from around 400 in 2006, which represents a 2,700 percent increase over the decade.

The same data showed that electricity theft in 2016 represented 3.2 percent of the total amount of electricity used, up from levels of around 0.5 percent registered between 2000 and 2010, the year when the recession began grinding away at the Greek economy.



HEDNO deputy plays down electricity theft impact on PPC

The number of electricity theft cases in Greece has definitely increased, partially due to a greater number of inspections being carried out by HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, but a level claimed by the main power utility PPC is overestimated, the operator’s deputy chief Yiannis Margaris has told energypress. The utility’s cash flow problem cannot be attributed to electricity theft, he pointed out.

HEDNO data, the only exisiting official figures available on the issue, indicate that the grid’s overall electricity loss in 2014 and 2015 – reported to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, in 2016 – reached 8.5 percent, 5.3 percent of this prompted by technical problems, the other 3.2 percent by non-technical issues, or electricity theft.

PPC claims its overall electricity loss amounts to 10.5 percent of all electricity used. The utility attributes 5.5 percent of the loss to technical issues and the other 5 percent to electricity theft.

“Electricity theft is a serious issue for which the operator is making a greater effort to combat, but its impact cannot be instrumental to the major cash flow problems encountered by PPC,” contended Margaris. He estimated the annual cost of electricity theft for PPC at between 70 and 80 million euros – maximum.

The HEDNO deputy warned that the overall impression being created of a local electricity market in disarray is not only inaccurate but ultimately dangerous amid the bailout negotiations and their growing pressure for various sector privatizations. He also openly questioned whether the “leaks of inaccurate information are serving particular interests.”

HEDNO, whose tasks include an operator role for the non-interconnected islands, is a subsidiary firm of PPC, the still-dominant utility facing growing bailout-related pressure to downsize.

“If dialogue is needed, it should be carried out wherever needed, but based on solid proof and seriousness,” Margaris pointed out.

According to HEDNO data, the operator has discovered roughly 50,000 cases of electricity theft from 2008 until now. In 2016, the number of incidents identified by the operator reached 10,636, up from 8,409 in the previous year.


Operator’s electricity supply cut cases totalled 150,000 in 2016

HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, received 320,000 orders to cut electricity supply in 2016, a figure representing about 4.3 percent of the country’s total number of power meters, the operator, announced yesterday.

HEDNO, which manages the low and medium-voltage networks, was able to follow through and complete the supply cut orders on roughly 150,000 power meters, less than half of the total requested.

While informing Greek Parliament on the matter yesterday, a HEDNO official noted that the operator, in its attempt to act on as many supply cut orders as possible, met considerable resistance, In some cases, operator work teams required police protection to reach power meters, parliament was told.

Certain clients take last-minute action by rushing to either settle unpaid electricity bills or make pay-back arrangements through monthly installments when HEDNO technical teams arrive to their addresses to cut power supply, parliament was told.

In some cases, HEDNO teams, unable to gain entry into properties during initial attempts, have been forced to schedule return visits.

HEDNO also reported over 10,000 cases of electricity theft for 2016. Some 3,500 law suits have been filed against offenders, while legal action for all other cases is being prepared.

HEDNO’s electricity theft for 2014 and 2015 was estimated at 3.2 percent, less than the figure reported by the main power utility PPC, which the utility put at 5.5 percent.


PPC pressuring operator to clamp down on cases of electricity theft

The main power utility PPC is pressuring HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, to adopt a stricter approach when dealing with cases of electricity theft, including legal and extrajudicial action.

The utility estimates that it is being deprived of an amount worth over 300 million euros, which exceeds 500 million euros should VAT costs be included.

This cost has an immediate effect on PPC’s finances and is eventually rolled over to consumers when included in electricity bill surcharges.

PPC disputes an electricity theft estimate forwarded by HEDNO to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, which the operator put at 3.6 percent of total electricity used in 2016.

PPC believes its overall electricity loss amounts to 10.5 percent of all electricity used. The utility attributes 5.5 percent of the loss to technical issues and the other 5 percent to electricity theft.



Electricity theft cases rise sharply by 26% in 2016

Electricity theft cases in Greece increased by 26 percent last year, a development that takes the overall increase over the past two years to an astonishing 60 percent.

Further highlighting the troubled situation amid the prolonged recession, employees at HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, have faced a heightened level of aggression when doing rounds to inspect suspicious supply connections.

Inspections conducted last year identified 10,600 cases of electricity theft, up from 8.409 in 2015 and 6,605 in 2014, latest HEDNO data showed.

In comments offered to energypress, HEDNO officials admitted that these figures are just an estimate and would probably rise if a greater number of inspections were carried out.

The HEDNO figures highlight the need for RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to toughen penalties for offenders. The authority is soon expected to announce stricter regulations. Immediate supply cuts will be activated in cases of electricity theft, according to these new RAE rules. Also, offenders will need to settle overdue electricity bill amounts within 20 days or register for payback programs.

The installment of digital power meters around Greece, expected to replace conventional meters over the next few years, represents the most effective preventive measure against electricity theft as new-technology smart meters cannot be tampered with.

The lack of political will to tackle the problem has not helped matters. The recently appointed energy minister Giorgos Stathakis has so far maintained a tolerant policy supported by his predecessor Panos Skourletis and refused to cut electricity supply in cases where overdue electricity bill amounts do not exceed 1,000 euros.

Over 1.5 million clients owe the main power utility PPC electricity bill amounts of less than 1,000 euros. Just 14 percent of these clients registered for a softer payback program by the end of December, offered by the utility to help reduce its alarming level of unpaid receivables. Clients belonging to this category have been content to maintain their electricity bill debt at levels below 1,000 euros.