The alarming cash-flow situation at PPC, the Public Power Corporation, has intensified further with data for the month of December indicating the utility’s electricity bills collection figure dropped by twenty percent, month-to-month, according to confirmed information obtained by energypress.
Troubled PPC officials, already concerned by the corporation’s rising unpaid overdue electricity bills amount, now at over two billion euros, remain bemused as to whether this latest collections plunge is an ephemeral incident that will be swiftly corrected or a new lasting condition to the corporation’s already grave cash-flow problem.
Some analysts have attributed the sudden collection figure drop to increased consumer complacency in the run-up to the elections. The entire public sector experienced an overall decline in payment collections during the period.
Whatever the case, for PPC, this latest consumer payment slowdown brings the utility even close to the brink of financial collapse. Although the utility stands commandingly as a corporate structure, its heightened cash-flow problem is striking at the utility’s foundation.
As a consequence, PPC is struggling to cover its financial obligations, especially payments towards IPTO, the Independent Power Transmission Operator. The domino effect taking place in the sector also affects LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator, which relies on revenues received, as a percentage of electricity bills, to pay renewable energy source (RES) producers.
“The current situation reminds of the energy market crash in 2012,” a sector analyst observed.
PPC already owes considerable amounts to suppliers, and, at this rate, according to company officials, will soon not be able to cover payments for petrol purchased to fuel electricity production stations on the islands, and gas supply used for its gas-fueled power stations. PPC also owes major amounts to contractors, especially those working the utility’s mines.
For months now, PPC has sought ways to bolster its financial standing. Lending opportunities, on good terms, have been affected by the country’s climate of political uncertainty.
“Credit markets have essentially closed down again. Consequently, PPC does not have access to any cash sources,” a sector authority told energypress, who reminded that, besides the amount owed to PPC by households, a further total of about 170 million euros is owed by the Greek state, which, despite repeated promises, has failed to pay up.
Last April, PPC had raised 700 million euros through two bond issues that were oversubscribed six times. More recently, the utility restructured its outstanding loans, worth 2.2 billion euros, and also received new loans from the European Investment Bank.