While Greek households continue to struggle with utility bills hiked during a crushing economic crisis, big businesses are going to get discounts up to 20 percent for one year with the option of a 12-month extension, the Public Power Corporation (PPC) said.
The government is trying to find ways to ease energy costs for industries that are founding, particularly steelmakers, two of which could close down.
The government is defying its international lenders to slash rates for its PPC’s biggest clients because the economy will begin to improve this year, officials said, and they want to help speed the recovery.
The government, as a PPC stakeholder, announced that “taking into account the Greek economy’s long and deep recession, and the fact that after several years [it appears to be entering a phase of gradually returning to expansion], as well as that industries, particularly energy-intensive ones, form a crucial part of the country’s production capacity,” it has resorted to the measures because of what it said were extraordinary conditions.
The state has therefore “proposed to the PPC board and approved an extraordinary discount of 10 percent on PPC rates for one plus one year for high-voltage enterprises, starting from January 1, 2014. For companies with an annual consumption in excess of 1,000 gigawatt hours in particular, a discount of 10 percent will apply in addition to the above discount.”
The government is hoping that the expected losses of some 75 million euros ($103.5 million) from the discounts will be offset by the industries’ increase in consumption, along with production units restarting operations, as well as timely payment of bills.
As an extra incentive to increase power consumption, PPC will also offer an additional discount of 25 percent on its rates for nights and weekends for all high-voltage clients apart from those with an annual consumption of more than 1,000 GWh.
One of PPC’s unions, Spartakos, protested the decision, saying in a letter to the finance minister that it constitutes a direct subsidy to energy-intensive industries and “the killing blow for PPC,” threatening to take recourse to the European competition authorities.