By F. Zois & K. Deligiannis
Hellenic Post (EL.TA), Greece's state-run postal service, has promised to cover some 50 million euros it owes the Public Power Corp. (PPC) from the payments made at its branches by the power utility's customers to pay their electricity bills.
The postal service appears to have withheld the payments in order to boost its liquidity, at least in the short term. The result was that thousands of PPC customers saw past arrears on the electricity bills, while also losing a prompt payment discount offered by the utility.
Under Greece's highly centralized system and with the state's still dominant position in the country's public utility sector, the issue made its way onto a Cabinet minister's office, with Energy and Environment Minister Giorgos Stathakis referring to the 50-million-euro figure in talks with reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with creditors' top auditors in Athens on Wednesday.
According to reports, EL.TA will transfer 25 million euros to PPC next week, with the remainder to be covered by September.
Many of PPC's customers who used post offices to pay their power bills had wait for hours at the utility's offices to restore a 15-percent discount offered for timely payments. The reason, according to reports, is that electronic payment date files were not forwarded - or could not be transferred - by EL.TA to PPC, meaning that customers had t present their printed payment receipts.