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.