Outstanding debts? No settlement? Poverty? Sickness? Greek Public Power Company knows no mercy. The public company sent a crew and cut the power supply to a couple that has been living under the poverty line and furthermore the man has been suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a lung disease.
The cut of the power supply sent the man directly to the hospital as he totally depends on power support and oxygen.
“The PPC knew of the health problem, we had submitted documents and doctors’ diagnosis from the hospital,” the man’s partner told local media in Lamia, Central Greece. “When they came to cut the power, I told them, the man is oxygen dependent and he could die, but they said I had to solve the problem with the PPC office.”
She said that her partner cannot breath without an oxygen machine and that the power cut brought him to collapse. He had to be taken to hospital.
Despite the social problem and the hardship, the couple was not able to make use of the so-called “social tariff” of PPC for the vulnerable and receive protection from the power cut.
Due to the dire economic situation, the couple has transformed into their home one room in a business place, an old wood depot. Therefore, the power meter was not in their name but ran in the name of the company as “industrial power subscriber.”No chance for the two to be part of the social program.
Konstantina and Nikos, as their first names are, struggle to make ends meet with 626 euros they receive every two months.
With €313 available per month they have to cover medicine, rent, electricity, water and food.
Until two years ago, also Konstantina was receiving an welfare allowance due to serious health problems. But this money was cut too.
The debt to PPC has amounted to 7,500 euros, an amount they will never manage to pay back.
“I know I have used the electricity, I am I am willing to pay but how?” the woman said.
In contact with PPC this morning, Konstantina learned that she had to make a down-payment of €150, make an arrangement to pay the debt in installments, so that the power supply could be restored.
“They also want half of the debt back,” the woman said. “I told them I can have the 150 euro on Monday when the allowance will come.” Apparently she was told no money no power supply.
She wishes somebody would donate the money, “but who makes donations nowadays?” she asked.
Her partner remains hospitalized and the future is grim. The 68-year-old man has been suffering from HAP for the last ten years. His health condition is considered as “serious.”
There are always people in Greece of economic crisis who fell through the sparsely safety net. Sometimes because they are too proud to seek for help, they suffer from social isolation. And sometimes because they do not know how to claim one euro or two when the government grant the social distributions as it did in 2017.
Yet this extra bonus to the poor and vulnerable is just a short breath that lasts only a moment. The chronic problems remain, the debts remain and the situation is ever worse when one member has a chronic health problem.