By Angelos Anastasiou
WITH less than two working days to Christmas, only 45 households have applied so far to have their power restored free-of-charge for the holiday period, the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) said yesterday.
On Wednesday EAC chairman Charalambos Tsouris said it would restore power to 700 customers who had been cut off due to lack of payment. Supply would be restored with no strings attached from December 18 to January 8, the authority had said.
The sluggish response to the prospect of completely free electricity for 22 days has caused the EAC to backtrack somewhat on the numbers it announced on Wednesday. Spokesman Costas Gavrielides said the authority was not in fact aware how many of the non-paying customers might actually be households.
“We don’t know the number,” Gavrielides said. “We have the total figure of establishments without power but not of homes in particular, and that’s why I refrained from [initially] giving numbers,” he added, referring to the initially estimated 700 powerless homes.
“The low number of applications thus far may indicate that most cases of non-payment are not down to inability to pay,” Gavrielides added.
He said the low demand for reinstating power could also be the result of misconception regarding additional action that could be required of those customers. On Wednesday the authority suggested those who would reapply could discuss long-term payment of outstanding bills. If a payment plan was in place by January 20, those customers could avoid being disconnected again.
But the EAC was clear that the free holiday supply was not contingent on that.
“This is absolutely not a prerequisite. Nothing is required,” the EAC spokesman reiterated. “One just needs to apply for their power to be reinstated at their local EAC customer service office.”
He added: “Every home can have its power supply restored simply by applying, but we advise those affected to negotiate a payment plan by January 20 in order to avoid the inconvenience of having it cut off again.”