Greeks faced with energy poverty

More than one third of all Greeks continues to be threatened by poverty and social exclusion. Many of them are tested by the so called energy poverty, which means that they cannot cover their basic needs for heating and powering their homes.

According to Eurostat’s data, more than 2 in 10 Greeks (21,1%) are unable to pay their home’s energy bills, despite the fact that energy consumption rises in Greece.

As for the EU, at least 112.9 million citizens lived last year in households that faced poverty and social exclusion – a number corresponding to 22.5% of total European population – with the problem being more pronounced in Bulgaria, Romania and Greece.

One of the five targets set by the “Europe 2020” initiative is the reduction of the number of Europeans who face poverty and social exclusion by at least 20 million by 2020. Energy poverty is a significant part of this target. Earlier this year, the European Commission inaugurated the EU Energy Poverty Observatory, which aims to create a user-friendly platform with open access that will promote the issue of energy poverty and provide information and good practices examples.

Education campaign

Towards the same direction, in order to sensitize about saving energy in households, the European Commission has begun an education campaign for citizens in Greece, the Czech Republic, Romania and Portugal.

The basic task of the campaign is to help households reduce their power bills and change power consumer behavior, as well as that of those investing in the energy upgrading of their homes.

The main message of the campaign is that energy saving measures can help not only with the family budget, but also with energy reserves and protection of the environment. “Even very small changes in the everyday consumer activity can help families save money. And the utilization of the financial assistance, which is available for improving household energy efficiency, can help to save energy and protect the environment”, said Commissioner Jourova.

PPC bills to be raised

Raises are under way for PPC’s bills, while the company seeks ways to increase its income because of the damages sustained. The biggest problem for PPC is the rising price of CO2 emission rights prices that the company needs to buy.

Indeed, according to the latest data for the first six months, the total sum reached 107.2 million Euros from 60.9 million last year. Prices keep rising and have now reached 19 Euros/tonne up from 7 Euros last year.

Energy minister, George Stathakis, said that whether the bills will be raised is an open issue. Speaking to Ant1, he mentioned that “private providers have earmarked in their contracts that the CO2 price is transferred to consumers on a regular basis. PPC has not done that. We observe how the market will move in up to six months time and what the consequences will be”. The most likely path is for the company to include a similar charge.

However, apart from the CO2 price that PPC is likely to transfer to the bills, the operational and strategic plan set by McKinsey&CO includes additional consumer and business charges. According to available information, the charging for printing a bill is proposed, the reduction of the discount for consistent consumers and the unification of consumption grades that will lead to raises.

There is one more threat for consumers, as PPC appears to have been vindicated in the Supreme Court about a decree of the regulator that concerns the calculation of Common Interest Services the company is entitled to since 2011.

The regulator proposed and the government decides to pay retrospectively the sum of 360 million Euros. The company, however, kept claiming the rest 375 million Euros. The Supreme Court, without rejecting its claim, forwarded the issue to the administrative court. If PPC wins, then these 375 million Euros will either burden consumers or subtracted from the social dividend that the government aims to provide.

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