According to the Greek Public Power Corporation (PPC), more than 350,000 consumers every year have their electricity cut off over unpaid bills. 60% of the power cuts concern households. 140,000 of these remain disconnected as they cannot afford to pay the bills, while illegal reconnections amount to 35,000 p.a. Comparing to pre-crisis figures (i.e. 2008), this signals a more than 100% increase in power cuts.
Increasing consumer inability to pay electricity bills has resulted in a total of €1,3 billion debt to the PPC, while the share of only two high voltage consumers (aluminum and metallurgical companies) amounts to 30% of this debt.
In Spain, the regional government in Andalusia takes measures to relieve struggling households by promoting a plan, under which €20 million will be directed to covering electricity and water bills for low or zero income citizens.
In the UK, soaring energy costs have attracted media attention and have sparked a political row. The country’s “big six” energy companies have been asked by a group of MP’s to justify profits. Recent price rises have been attributed by the companies to ‘green levies’ that affect the wholesale prices of energy. The UK’s Office for National Statistics has reported that during the last decade the proportion of household income accounted for by essentials has risen from 19.9% to 27.3% (2003-2013).