According to recent reports, the amount of unpaid bills by customers of the Greek Public Power Company has reached a staggering $2.7 billion.
The company is so fed-up that is has threatened to cut the power to people with outstanding debts as soon as possible. If the power company does this, 2.1 million Greeks will be without electricity.
Reports indicate that many Greeks are unable to afford the power bill, which comes twice every month. Often, the amount that should be paid is doubled because of extra fees.
The 2.1 million customers with outstanding debts include private households and small and large businesses. Of course, the company will send warning letters before it leaves people without electricity.
Current estimates show that nearly $2 billion of the outstanding debts are from business customers.
According to the Greek Public Power Company, many consumers have misused the “social price policy”, which is supposed to help poor households and people with disabilities afford electricity. People who are a part of this program will be exempt from the planned power outages.
However, the power company has said that it will screen this category of customers in order to identify people who have been improperly taking advantage of this program.
Customers who fall into debt with the power company are almost never able to escape it. The company does very little to help their customers, and their bills are beyond the means of average Greek citizens.
The situation became particularly bad after the government included special property taxes into electric bills in 2011. This caused the price of electric bills to skyrocket, and many customers were simply unable to keep up.
Making matters worse is that these major bill increases came at a time when many Greeks were still recovering from the worldwide recession, and unemployment was widespread.
As a result, many Greeks fell into debt with the electric company. Most have been unable to escape this debt. In essence, these people are being held hostage by the power company.
Some Greeks have been known to have power bills in excess of $1,100.
The Greek Public Power Company will not receive any money by cutting the power of its customers. All it will do is make the situation in Greece worse.
Without power, it’s fair to wonder how much of Greece will continue to function.