Greece seeks to recoup €2.4B in unpaid energy bills

The Greek Public Power Corporation (DEH) is planning to hire a consortium of eight companies in order to settle unpaid energy bills which currently add up to €2.4 billion ($2.7 billion).

Greek media reported that within the consortium is included a company which specializes in debt collection management whose CEO is Orestis Tsakalotos, a relative of Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos.

DEH on Monday said the penalty for debtors who delay payment will rise to 7.25 percent of their total arrears while a six-percent penalty will be levied on bills which go unpaid by state entities.

The budget for the proposal is €12 million ($13.8 million) and it is foreseen that the contractors’ remuneration will be set as a percentage of the debt collected.

For struggling Greek consumers, the news is unwelcome.

“There are no extra money to pay all [my] bills,” said Giorgos Papadakis, 68, while queuing in line at his local Public Power Corporation (PPC) branch in Athens to settle his own unpaid arrears of five months.

“If you check the bill, one fourth of the money paid is for the electricity consumed; the rest are public and municipality taxes.

“We pay more for taxes on our bill than our actual electricity.”

Maria Tsikou, 27, a recent university graduate told Anadolu Agency: “We work to pay bills, electricity is among the most expensive”.

“If they will increase the penalty for delays then we will be working only to pay our bills.”

However, the plan remains unconfirmed. A final decision to award the contract has not yet been taken by the PPC's Board of Directors.