Power to the people

Many of us in the “western” world take electricity for granted – it is just there, at the flick of a switch. However, in this country, we are rapidly beginning to understand the relationship which the less developed parts of the world have with it.

For starters – it is “normal” for us to have power cuts if the weather is bad. In many places in Greece, the power is transported on overhead lines; this is a mountainous country and it is totally impractical to install underground cables. We understand, therefore, that the weather can cause problems. In our local area, the engineers from the electricity company work wonders to restore power as fast as possible after there has been a cut. Even last winter, when storms went on for days, they were out there sorting out the lines.

What is “new” is the fact that, for many people now, cuts are nothing to do with the weather. The cost of electricity has risen hugely, as this article shows, and more and more are being cut off because they can’t pay their bills.

Every winter, more and more people are finding that their electricity bills are completely unaffordable. Central heating oil costs have risen sharply as well, so many have cut back on that as well. The “old” way of heating homes (wood burning stoves) is making a comeback, causing smog in the cities, as people burn anything they can find – not just seasoned olive logs, which is what we are fortunate enough to have for nothing.

Electricity charges here are on a sliding scale – the more you use the higher the charge per unit, and all the sundry charges are linked to consumption by a series of complicated multipliers. Summer isn’t any better than winter, as aircon use eats electricity. This has been a cold winter, especially in northern Greece, so there have been some frightening bills. Our own latest one was fairly scary, as I’ve been using the tumble dryer more, due to a cold, wet spell, and we use the aircon fan to distribute the heat from our wood burner better. I’m now reading the meter every week, to see just how much we are using and to try to find further ways to cut back, and keep below the threshold at which the price per unit goes up!

I’m now off to defrost the freezer to make sure that works efficiently.

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  1. #1 by Yvonne J on March 16, 2017 - 1:04 pm

    More and more people all over the world are getting their electricity cut off due to being unable to pay the higher prices.
    Homes now are set up to use power meaning that the old time ways of heating and cooling are not known or available.

  2. #2 by katedefleury on March 16, 2017 - 3:50 pm

    The problem here is, additionally, that the taxes on the bills are political in nature. Salaries and pensions are falling, but taxes are going up at the behest of the international lenders. This will end in an ever increasing spiral of recession eventually.

    Building homes solely dependent on electricity isn’t great. We decided not to have CH when we built our house, as the cost was huge for the use we’d get out of it – a couple of months, normally. We are certainly glad of our woodburner – we’ve just installed a new one. I don’t know how we would keep warm without it, as we certainly couldn’t run the reversible aircon enough.

  3. #3 by Chel on March 16, 2017 - 11:34 pm

    It is so sad when prople can’t afford to pay their electricity bill and it is becoming more common here but even people on pensions like ourselves still would receive more than pensioners in Greece with all the major problems you have had over there. I often wonder how the refugees are coping.

  4. #4 by Emmbee on March 17, 2017 - 4:19 am

    It seems that the cost of electricity is spiralling out of control throughout the world. We are fortunate here in our home to have alternative wood burning heating and access to timber to fuel it. There is no real alternative to air conditioning though. We have just survived a summer of successive heatwaves where the temperatures were above 45 degrees Celsius for days on end. We have a full brick home with high ceilings and the fans were great. It was still way too hot to be productive in any meaningful way. I do feel for city dwellers where there are no alternatives other than gas which is also expensive to use.

  5. #5 by carolinehounsell on March 20, 2017 - 11:01 pm

    We are fortunate to have manageable electricity bills (and gas bills) at the moment. We have no fireplaces, no chimneys and to install a woodburner would be quite expensive. But we dont have extremes of temperature.

    Houses in hot countries when I was a child either used to have thick walls and small windows or high ceilings with opening transoms at the top to let the heat out, concrete floors for coolness, lots of windows, wide verandahs and massive fireplaces for the winter with fans to direct heat down. When houses are not built for their climate they require a lot more fuel, I feel. But then aircon means you can live in places you could not otherwise, I guess. I don’t know the answer.

    I feel very sad for Greece, the general populace cannot win, it seems and kicking people when they are down is just awful 😦

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