The total amount of unpaid overdue bills owed to PPC, the Public Power Corporation, stopped increasing in September following an extended period of ascent, latest company data showed.
According to sources, the total amount of unpaid overdue bills owed to PPC remained steady, slightly exceeding 1.7 billion euros at the end of September. The figure includes all consumer categories, from household to industrial.
This latest result suggests that pessimistic forecasts made last summer of a continual rise that would take the amount of unpaid overdue bills owed to PPC to about two billion euros at the end of this year could be avoided.
Even so, this does not mean that PPC can rest at ease as the current level of unpaid bills owed to the electricity company remains alarmingly high and unprecedented. However, the stagnancy shown by the latest figures is an encouraging sign.
During the summer, the level of unpaid overdue bills owed to PPC increased by 30 percent compared to last November. The persisting surge, despite the removal of a property tax levied on electricity bills, was a particularly worrisome trend. At the time, this unwaning upward trajectory had been interpreted by authorities as a sign that the spending ability of consumers amid the crisis had reached rock bottom, meaning that PPC’s unpaid overdue bills total appeared set to rise further.
The current level of amounts owed to PPC by consumers is considered as being unmanageable. For months now, PPC has sought ways to reinforce its financial standing. However, the current level of political uncertainty in Greece has severely confined PPC’s borrowing options in capital markets. Under current conditions, favorable terms and interest rates are not available.
Last April, PPC raised 700 million euros from two bond sales, a five-year bond issue worth a total of 500 million euros offering an interest rate of 5.5 percent, and a three-year bond worth a total of 200 million euros offering a 4.75 percent yield. The issue had been oversubscribed six times. Also just months ago, PPC had loans worth 2.2 billion euros restructured, while the company also received considerably sized loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB). These moves offered some respite to PPC, and, by extension, the energy market. PPC’s financial standing is piovotal for the sector. When the cash flow is good at PPC, all runs smoother in the wider energy market.
Right now, if PPC resorts to further borrowing, this will only further burden the company’s current financial state.