In an effort curb a spate of cases of wealthy clients enjoying social welfare billing subsidies, the Public Power Corporation (PPC) social welfare billing programme is introducing stricter criteria for the benefit.
Clients who have large amounts of money in bonds, stocks, mutual fund deposits, and large real estate holdings will now be excluded from the programme, as will those who possess luxury cars or pay for private schools and maids.
The current lists of beneficiaries include clients with expensive villas and swimming pools and significant assets who have been inducted in the social welfare billing scheme, but still do not pay their bills despite the discount.
The new criteria are expected to weed such clients out of the programme.
The social household billing programme, which is being subsidized by the state, will offer discounts of between 22 and 83 percent, according to a proposal by the Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE).
Environment and Energy Minister Yorgos Stathakis must approve the new criteria.
Beyond the income ceiling for beneficiaries, which remains unchanged at 12,000 euros annually, clients who own expensive cars, or currently pay a luxury tax, or declare expenditure for recreational boats, or pay private school tuition, or declare expenditures for household help, chauffeurs or private tutors will be excluded from the programme.
Taxpayers who currently receive Social Solidarity Benefits will enjoy an 80 percent discount
From thereron in, there are three categories of beneficiaries. The poorest clients will receive a 60 percent discount, those with somewhat higher income 40 percent, and 22 percent for the wealthiest of those qualifying for benefits.