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Greeks are furious as Public Power Company increases charges on electricity bills

As if we did not have enough financial burdens, Greek Public Power Company increases charges on electricity bills and demands the payment of additional 735 million euros by millions of electricity consumers. “It is a small, temporary contribution,” Greek PPC said in a statement responding to the outcry. Greeks know very well that there is nothing more permanent than the temporary. They saw it on the temporary Solidarity Tax and the increased Property Tax. And they are afraid that the new ‘small, temporary’ PPC charge will add another stone to the electricity bills many of them can hardly afford to pay.

The state power company demands retrospectively the total amount of 735 million the company spent to supply electricity to the islands and to make available ‘reduced electricity prices’ for vulnerable social groups.

The €735 million have been spent in the time period 2012-2015.

The PPC said that the total amount to be paid retrospective is the difference between the cost the company has paid for the electrification of the not connected islands and the reduced prices for vulnerable groups and the outstanding debts of its customers.

PPC’s request for recovery of SGIs (Public Utilities Services) from previous years does not “come to cover the company’s losses from outstanding customer debts,” but to recover the costs it has incurred for investments and the operating costs relating to non-interconnected islands, so that the electricity price on the islands is the same as for the mainland.”

“The money returns immediately to real economy,” PPC claimed.

According to state ERT broadcaster, electricity consumers will be charged with an extra 1 euro per month for the next three years.

Other Greek media reported that the reduced electricity prices amounted 50 to 60 or even 70 million euros, while the cost for cheap electricity in the island of Crete was around 500 million and for the Cyclades and probably the Dodecanese island groups around 100 million.

The cost of electricity production on non-interconnected islands is high as it is powered by fuel  units.

Why are the islands not connected? the PPC failed to give an explanation.

It reminds me of the old problem with the water supply to the island of Aegina just a few nautical miles away from the mainland. Aegina is not connected to the public water supply. any government attempt to facilitate the connection has failed so far due to the resistance of the private water transport companies. I was a child and I grew old and the water problem in Aegina remains the same.

Honestly speaking, I fail to understand ‘the difference’ and the PPC’s ‘customers debts’ and the link to each other. And I can hardly care about. Electricity bills have the highest cost of all amounts households have to pay month in, month out for utilities and maintenance. blame the extra charges and fees that have nothing to do with the electricity consumption.

The PPC bill is a tool in the hands of government, PPC and municipalities to collect a a bunch of extra fees, charges, Value Added Tax and whatever comes in their mind. A total of 13 charges are listed on electricity bills, many of them have nothing to do with power consumption.

1. Fixed charge
2. Supply Charge
3. ADMIE – Power transmission operator

4. DEDDIE – Power network operator
5. SGI – non-connected islands
6. ETMAEP – Regulatory authority for energy/emission fees etc
7. Other Charges
8. Special fee (EFK)
9. Special fee N. 2093/92
10. Value Added Tax
11. Municipality fees
12. Municipality Tax fee
13. State Broadcaster ERT.

Greeks saw with aghast the last 4-month clearing PPC bill to have skyrocketed because of the use of electric devices.  People complained about ‘hidden charges”.  The chairman of the Regulatory Authority RAE, Nikos Boulaxis, said when consumption exceeded the 2,000 kilowatt-hour limit for the four-month period, consumers were fully charged for the whole energy and not just for the excess kilowatt hours. Boulaxis dismissed claims the RAE played a role in the PPC decision to retrieve the 735 million euros. He said it was “a political decision” due to a law of 2012.

It is a well-known proverb that too many cooks spoil the broth…

Fact is that when there are households with no working adult, when families are broke and financially exhausted, even the one euro extra per month will make the difference in a very tight budget. Despite the good intention to show solidarity.

“What? Do I pay so that rich Mykonos gets cheap electricity?” a friend replied to my question what he thinks about the new charges. For the last 4 months his contribution to family budget is 350 euro unemployment allowance. He is 48 and believes he will never return to the labor market again.

“I am tired to pay for the other half of Greece,” a neighbor told me the other day when we met at on the street and started to chat about the weather and the general economic situation. She is 35  years old with two children aged 4 and 6. Jobless since 9 months. The salary of her husband was reduced at least twice in the years of the economic crisis. I did not dare to ask how much money he brings home. People have a dignity. I only know that they rent a tiny apartment.

But the clue of the PPC day is this:

Public Power Company PPC hires an Artistic Director for its choir…

PS I bet my last 2 cents that the next step the PPC will do is to demand retrospectively the 15% reduction it gives to subscribers paying the bills on time.

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8 comments

  1. I hope you’re wrong about them demanding the 15% retrospectively!

    However, that whole principle of the 15% discount is morally wrong insofar as it penaliises the people who can least afford the penalty. If I’m late paying my electricity bill, it’s because I can’t afford to pay it on time. So to charge me 15% more is insanity, because that means I will be even less able to afford it. It’s a vicious spiral. Why should Andreas, who is in the happy position to be able pay his bills on time, get a 15% discount when Dimitris, who is so broke he can’t even afford to find the money for his electricity bill, have to pay the full price?

    Although I’m happy that I get this 15% discount, I really think it’s self-defeating. In a just world, it’s those who struggle to pay the utilities who should be getting the discount, not those who can afford it. And I say that as someone who is a libertarian and a believer in the free market; and one who has no time for perennially failing socialist policies. The economic situation in Greece is dire, and people are suffering through no fault of their own. This should be taken into consideration by the utility providers.

    Perhaps they should be charging the politicians who got us into this mess extra, rather than the poor sods who can’t pay their bills.

  2. I know that most of the charges are fixed, but I left DEI for NRG months ago for all my office + house electricity bills.

    And I did not have to wait 5 hours in line at a DEI center either, I did it on the phone and they sent me a contract by courier!

    15% on the electricity charge may not sound by much, but these days every Euro counts. I recommend others to do it as well.
    Oh and as a bonus, I did not pay my last DEI bill either before leaving them, and never intend on doing so. Let the ‘rich’ DEI unionists pay for it!

  3. I think my 500 EUR debt is low on their list of priorities. It would probably take years to reach the tax office.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      you have no idea. debts are transferred automatically after deadline passed, there are provisions for such debtors when they move to a private company.

  4. not true at all. debts are only transferred after DEI sues you, takes you to small claims court and then if you fail to pay it when you lose the case, it then gets transferred to the tax office.

    and when you sign a contract with the new power supplier, your old debts are irrelevant as its a whole new supply contract, you have disconnected your supply with DEI when you leave them regardless of the debts to them. the debts to them are up to DEI to chase you for.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      ah, that’s the legal way to cheat and steal electricity had have the others pay for your debts? And this by someone who has been complaining all the time that Greeks cheat and praise German moral integrity?

  5. Ah syrizee1… here’s someone who’s never seen a neoliberal policy he hasn’t liked.