ATHENS – Thousands of farmers and businessman in the Greek countryside and islands who have debts to Public Power Corporation (PPC) of more than 1,000 euros ($1178) will have their power shut off if they don’t come to terms and make payments arrangements.
They are being chased by Qualco, a debt collection firm going after them for not paying although the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA had been lenient on utility debtors and previously had not pushed for the bills to be paid in what critics said was an attempt to appease people after its popularity fell when Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reneged on anti-austerity vows.
The debtors will be getting notices from the private company that was hired to collect what the utility could not as it was hampered by being unable to turn off power until the debts grew so high, now more than 2.8 billion euros ($3.3 billion) it was brought back as a collection measure.
Debtors will also be hounded on the phone as the company sorts out those who have tried to skip out on payment or broken payment plans with PPC.
The first phase of the company’s collection plan, starting in the Greek countryside, comprises notices and telephone calls to debtors who have not come forward to settle their arrears or who have fallen foul of payment plans agreed with the company.
If the debtors do not respond to the 15-day warning, they face having their electricity cut off, after which PPC will be able to take judicial action said Kathimerini.
The company, according to data leaked from PPC, wants to collect at least 50 million euros ($58.9 million) worth of arrears this year but said it expected that amount could at least triple to 150 million euros ($176.7 million,) still only around 5 percent of what’s due.