“Energy tourists” in Greece have burdened energy suppliers with an estimated overdue debt of 300-400 million euros. “Energy tourists” are repordely households and businesses, who move from one electricity provider to another leaving unpaid bills.
According to calculations by the General Manager of “Natural Gas” and president of ESPEN (Association of Energy Supply Companies) Yannis Mitropoulos,the overdue debt is “wound” in the retail electricity market that is not expected to close in the immediate future.
He emphasized that in the company he manages, 50% of overdue debts come from “energy tourists”, which practically means that the said practice has doubled the overdue debts.
A constant demand of the suppliers is to reactivate Article 42 in the Supply Code (competency of the Ministry of Environment and Energy), so that the companies can, under certain conditions, request the interruption of electricity supply to their former customers who have left debts and who have in the meantime move to another provider. This is a provision that was dropped in 2020 by decision of the Council of State, without another safety net being established since then. As a result, the only way out for suppliers is to claim debts in court, and strategic defaulters are left in the dark for years.
In this context, several companies have chosen a policy of immediate (after 2 outstanding bills) cut-off due to debts.
At the same time, the creation of the so-called “Energy Audit system” is progressing among the suppliers in order to deal with strategic non-payers, e.g. with increased guarantees for signing a supply contract. Also, a company will be able to add a consumer with overdue debts to its customer base, provided they pay their bills through a standing order.
According to Mitropoulos, the relevant information system can be activated in one year, with the schedule depending on the internal processes at ESPEN, daily naftemporiki.gr reported on Friday.
One should note that during the energy crisis 2022/2023 the Greek government was encouraging citizens to change supplier, if they’d found better offers, and it paid the subsidies aiming at customers to suppliers. – Just Saying.