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Greece’s PPC to hire collection agencies to pursue overdue payments

Greece’s Public Power Company (DEH) intends to hire a private collection agency to manage arrears to the public utility, Chairman and CEO Manolis Panagiotakis announced on Wednesday. “They promised us a 10-percent collectability increase,”the PPC CEO told a committee at the Greek Parliament. As expected Panagiotakis’ announcement triggered an outrage in the media and the society. The PPC saw obliged to ‘dismiss’ the announcement through a “source” that claimed the collection agency will have the role of a consultant.

Greek power utility PPC will not hire a collecting agency to pursue payments of debts owed to the company, PPC sources told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency on Wednesday, responding to relevant press reports.

“We will not hire a collection agency to collect overdue debts to the company but we will hire an advisor to help the collection procedure,” the source said, adding that the company will use the method of securitization to improve its liquidity, selling the securities to third parties.

Speaking earlier before the parliament’s Production and Trade Committee, PPC chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis presented data on the company’s unpaid bills and informed lawmakers that the company is planning to hire a company specializing in debt collection.

“The collection of overdue debts is a continuous struggle. We believe these policies facilitating payments have reached their limits. Therefore we decided to proceed with more decisive methods. We will hire a company which has more specialization in debt collection, with international experience, which has its own software that analyze the situation of every customer […] and we believe collectability may increase by more than 10 percent,” he said.

Panagiotakis told the Parliament that arrears to PPC  have “climbed” to 2.6 billion euros from 1.7 billion euros on 31.12.2015.

Listing the arrears of private households, businesses and other debtors, Panagiotakis revealed also that Greece’s public administration owes to PPC 100 million euros. Payment arrangements have been made for 40 million euros, Panagiotakis added.

The PPC will not be able to collect a total of 500 million euro from subscribers who have either cut the power supply or closed their businesses.

There is only one solution for the Greek PPC to increase collectibility: to remove a series of additional fees and taxes and municipality whatevers that make the electricity bill unpayable. Through the additional charges that have little or nothing to do with the electricity consumption, the amounts on the bi-monthly bill to be paid increase at 50 percent.

In times of economic crisis, thousands of households were forced to live in the dark when the PPC started to cut electricity due to unpaid bills.

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  1. I received a horrendous bill of over 700 euros, of which more than half consists of non-electricity charges. However, given the importance of electricity supply and the terrible state of DEH finances (caused by the Pasok malakies with property tax being illegally included on electricity bills) I consider it vital that everybody who can should pay their DEH bills in full.
    Elecitricity is absolutely essential in any country, and if we lost reliable power supply then Greece is doomed. I have little hope that the Troika would do much to help, although the EIB has recently agreed to a small loan to DEH. Many Greeks are talking about refusing to pay the new higher bills: this is a suicidal course of action. So far as I know, DEH is not stealing money: it has had money effectively stolen from it by past and present Greek governments.

  2. costa sakellariou

    Yes! what a progressive solution – bravo to the revolutionary spirit of the SYRIZA government…

    introduce the nightmare of private collection agencies (who border on the criminal) to collect monies owed the government (ΔΕΥ isn’t private yet, is it?)…

    • Under EU law, all state companies have to be run without public subsidy — operating as if they were private, and they cannot be subsidised without the explicit permission of the European Commission. The only real difference when privatised is actual ownership and the level of profits that the private owners intend to suck out of the company via high prices and low investment. But this is actually a big difference, if you look at the behaviour of privatised utilities across the EU and how they have bled their customers dry while providing worse services.