New installment-based debt settlement offer at PPC

Power utility PPC debtors could be given another chance to service electricity bill arrears through an installment-based payback program as a result of a wider debt-payment plan just forwarded by the government for consultation.

Besides PPC customers, authorities also intend to make this payback offer available to debtors owing amounts to a range of other entities, including banks, social security funds and the tax department.

An online registration process is being planned for applications.

However, interested parties will need to accept the lifting of banking and tax secrecy terms to become eligible for the payback plan.

This condition will be set so that authorities can cross-examine personal assets, both in Greece and abroad, to avoid attracting, to the program, individuals deemed as financially capable but unwilling to fully honor payback program commitments, as has been the case all too often in previous efforts.

Many such individuals have exploited previous PPC payback programs by registering, paying deposits and, in some cases, early installments, to protect themselves from immediate power supply cut threats, before disappearing from the picture.

PPC’s debtors, including businesses, owe the utility unpaid receivables worth 2.7 billion euros. Over 580,000 financially capable but unwilling customers, or strategic electricity bill dodgers, as they are commonly referred to locally, owe PPC an estimated sum of 545 million euros.

In addition, 895,000 customers who have switched from PPC to other electricity suppliers have left behind electricity-bill arrears estimated at one billion euros.



PPC’s bigger debtors ignoring improved payback terms

Some 140,000 electricity consumers owing power utility PPC a total amount of 230 million euros agreed to payback arrangements through monthly installments between October 1, when improved terms were introduced by the utility, and mid-February.

PPC’s administration regards this as a satisfactory reaction but bigger debtors remain a concern. The power utility has yet to elicit a response from consumers owing considerable amounts.

Latest data has shown that just 5 percent of consumers owing amounts greater than 10,000 euros signed up for payback arrangements between October 1 and mid-February.

The majority of consumers in this category are high-income earners refusing to cooperate for debt settlement, according to PPC, preparing a new crackdown.

On the contrary, consumers owing PPC mid-level debt amounts of between 1,000 and 3,000 euros appear far more willing to deal with their electricity bill debts, 39 percent agreeing to payback terms since October 1.

The response from customers owing between 500 and 1,000 euros was similar. A total of 39 percent belonging to this category registered for payback agreements during the same period.

The revised terms introduced by PPC on October 1 require a lower deposit payment for payback-plan eligibility and offer up to 24 monthly installments.

PCC’s more favorable payback plan registering with customers

Power utility PPC has expressed satisfaction over the results of its recently revised payback system concerning unpaid receivables, a more appealing scheme with lower deposit demands for ensuing installment-based settlement of arrears.

In the final quarter of 2019, the new payback system, launched October 1, drew approximately 110,000 customers who agreed to terms for settlement of an overall sum worth 155 million euros.

Debtors qualify for the new payback plan by providing deposits representing up to 20 percent of their arrears, compared to deposits of between 40 and 50 percent demanded until the end of last September. A 30 percent deposit is required if customers prefer to settle debt over a greater number of installments.

Stricter monitoring of strategic debtors, or customers deemed able but unwilling to service unsettled amounts, has also helped improve the power utility’s collection record for its increased unpaid receivables, now stabilized at 2.7 billion euros, according to state-controlled PPC.

Highlighting its tougher approach, PPC has issued 55,000 electricity supply cut orders to distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO over the past four-month period.

An overall improvement in customer punctuality concerning electricity bill payments has been discerned since the new collection measures came into effect, the utility has noted.

The collection of 155 million euros through the payback plan promises to offer PPC a considerable cash-flow boost. An even bigger boost is expected from the prospective securitization of unpaid receivables worth 1.5 billion euros, a plan that could be carried out within the first quarter of 2020 through two separate packages.


PPC customers with arrears drawn by new payback program

Power utility PPC’s revised installment-based payback program for customers behind on electricity bill payments, launched earlier this week with lower deposit requirements and a new telephone service option intact, has been well received.

Some 5,000 payback agreements were reached on October 8 and 9, when the revised program was launched, 2,000 of these over the telephone, according to sources.

The new payback program offers easier qualification terms for customers with arrears, but requalifying, if installment deadlines are not honored, will be more difficult.

The recently appointed administration at PPC, whose unpaid receivables total 2.7 billion euros, is hoping the revised payback system will keep generating greater cash inflow, needed to help secure the corporation’s sustainability.

PPC is also expecting public service compensation (YKO) returns estimated at 200 million euros for services offered between 2007 and 2011. This amount will come from the state budget, once related legislation has been ratified.

Other supportive measures already implemented at state-controlled PPC include tariff hikes expected to increase the utility’s annual revenue figure by more than 500 million euros.

PPC is also securitizing unpaid receivables. This move could secure a further 400 million euros for the utility.

Besides these cash injections, PPC, Greece’s largest corporation, needs to be bolstered by a new business plan promoting alternative business activities for sufficient revenues over the long term. It is being worked on.

PPC adding telephone service to revised installment payback plan

Power utility PPC is adding a telephone service option to its revised installment-based payback program for customers behind on their  electricity bill payments.

The telephone service is scheduled to be launched tomorrow through the corporation’s 11770 call center number.

The recently appointed administration at PPC, looking to boost revenue figures, has eased the terms of the utility’s previous payback program and hopes the telephone service will further encourage customers with arrears to sign up for the program as long queues at outlets will be avoided.

Deposit amounts needed by customers to register for PPC’s payback program have been reduced to levels of no more than 20 percent, or alternatively, 30 percent if longer programs are desired, from percentages of between 40 and 50 percent that were valid until September 30.

PPC customers registering for the payback program over the telephone will still need to provide state ID details, tax file numbers and power supply connection code numbers.

The deposit rate for electricity bill arrears of up to 500 euros has been set at 10 percent while consumers in this category will be offered five monthly installments for settlement of the remainder.

Customers with arrears of between 500 and 1,000 euros will also need to provide a 10 percent deposit but will be offered eight monthly installments.

The deposit rate for arrears ranging between 1,000 and 2,000 euros is 15 percent and the number of monthly installments 12.

Customers with arrears of between 2,000 and 3,000 euros must provide a 20 percent deposit to qualify for a payback plan of 18 installments.

Customers owing over 3,000 euros may provide a 20 percent deposit for 18 monthly installments or 30 percent up front for 24 installments.


New PPC payback plan seeks to stop exploitation by customers

Power utility PPC’s revised installment-based payback program for customers behind on electricity bill payments, to be announced by the utility later today, is designed to stop qualifiers from entering but not honoring the system’s monthly payment commitments.

Until now, PPC customers with arrears have been able to exploit the existing payback program to avoid electricity supply cuts by providing a qualifying deposit but not following up with most or all of the ensuing monthly installments. If ousted, customers have been able to swiftly requalify only to do the same. This has served as a time-wasting tactic at the cost of PPC.

Under the new terms, customers ousted from the payback system will still be able to requalify, but not until a long period has elapsed, energypress sources explained.

The terms of the new and revised PPC plan, part on an overall effort by the utility to boost its revenues, include 24 installments and a deposit of less than 40 percent.

The new payback plan represents a second step in PPC’s restructuring effort. The first, implemented in the summer, featured a package of support measures worth 490 million euros. An upcoming third step will concern PPC’s new commercial policy through the launch of new and appealing products.