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Public power supplier owed 1.3 billion euros in unpaid bills

Total debts to the power utility DEH from unpaid bills currently total some 1.3 billion euros, an amount which is growing at an average rate of 4 million euros per day, according to a DEH official  statement to Kathimerini newspaper.

The biggest share of that debt is owed by low- and medium-voltage consumers – households and very small enterprises. The total arrears are estimated around 600 million euros, of which some 65 percent concerns households.

The debts of the broader public sector amount to 190 million euros, with mining company Larco debt alone, reaching 135 million euros.

DEH’s work load increased dramatically in 2011 when the government doubled property taxes but had them put in electric bills under the threat of having power turned off for non-payment.

New regulations on the electricity market, the insistence of the country’s lenders for even higher electric rates for customers and problems with renewable energy sources have put high costs on PPC.

In an effort to make it easier for households to repay what they owe and to boost the cash inflow into its coffers, DEH introduced a flexible and extensive payment plan scheme last year. Approximately 7,500 households who had their supply cut off have now been reconnected thanks to a government decision to secure power for the country’s poorest households.

The scheme has proven so popular that the utility has given its customers the option of securing a payment plan via telephone in order to reduce long queues at its offices, as staff had been unable to handle the volume of applications.

DEH customers can now complete the process over the phone, by calling 11770 and applying to pay 12 monthly installments along with a down payment of between 20 and 50 percent. The category of socially sensitive consumers (the unemployed, those with low incomes etc) can pay their dues in up to 40 installments. Consumers only have to go to DEH offices to pay their installments.