Public Power Corporation (PPC) on Monday announced electricity rate increases up to 11 percent for household customers with electricity consumption of up to 800 kW over a four-month period and rate decreases of up to 3.4 percent for small and medium-sized businesses, starting July 25.
PPC, in an announcement, said that household rates for consumption higher than 800 kW, the night discount rate, and the low-income household rate will remain unchanged. PPC said its new electricity rate policy aims to eradicate cross-subsidies policies. The increase in low consumption electricity rates covers around 2,160,000 homes, mostly holiday homes, while the trade weighed increase on electricity bills was 11.1 percent. On the other hand, electricity rate reductions will cover around 1.4 million small and medium-sized businesses, for a trade weighed decrease of 3.4 percent on electricity bills.
PPC said these changes will have no major impact on consumers and underlined that energy cost in Greece remained one of the lowest in the European Union.
Total debts to the power utility (Public Power Corporation) from unpaid bills currently amount to about 1.3 billion euros, an amount which is growing at an average rate of 4 million euros per day, according to a PPC official statement to Kathimerini newspaper. The biggest share of that debt is owed by low and medium-voltage households and very small businesses. The total arrears are estimated around 600 million euros, of which some 65 percent concerns households.
The debts of the broader public sector amount to 190 million euros, with the debt of mining company Larco alone, reaching 135 million euros.
PPC’s work load increased dramatically in 2011 when the government doubled property taxes and attached due payments on electricity bills under the threat of having power turned off for non-payment.
New regulations on the electricity market, the insistence of the country’s lenders for even higher electricity rates for consumers and problems with renewable energy sources have put high costs on PPC.
In an effort to make it easier for households to repay what they owe and to boost the cash inflow into its coffers, PPC introduced a flexible and extensive payment plan scheme last year. Approximately 7,500 households who had their supply cut off have now been reconnected thanks to a government decision to secure power for the country’s poorest households.
The scheme has proven so popular that the utility company has given its customers the option of securing a payment plan via telephone in order to reduce long queues at its offices, as staff had been unable to handle the volume of applications.