In Patras and other towns in the Peloponnese, catering entrepreneurs turned off the lights on Wednesday evening and marched through the streets with candles to protest exorbitant electricity bills.
Holding signs reading “Electricity is killing us” and shouting slogans, they marched with the support of their fellow entrepreneurs and local residents.
The protesters demanded from the authorities effective support measures and solutions to the huge problem they are facing, saying that many owners in the sector are facing closure due to electricity bills they are unable to pay.
Cafes, bars and restaurants also turned off their lights in solidarity.
The protest was organized by the local Achaia Catering and Leisure Association. According to Newsreak, the president of the association told local media that some of its members, who used to pay bills of 800 euros, are now forced to pay 1800-1900 euros. He also spoke about an entrepreneur who used to pay 3,200 euros, and now his account reaches 9,000 euros.
“If we take into account that due to winter temperatures and pandemic measures, many enterprises use energy-intensive heaters in open areas, one can understand the high energy costs the sector is facing,” he stressed.
In support and solidarity, the local Retailers Association said in a statement that “after 10 years of bailouts, austerity and economic downturn, and 2 years of economic downturn due to lockdowns and pandemic, the cost of energy is hitting troubled midsize businesses again” .
All major sectors of the city have united their voices in demanding effective support measures, such as a significant reduction in the special consumption levy and taxes on fuel, a reduction in value added tax, and support for local businesses due to loss of income, since this year’s famous carnival in Patras also banned due to coronavirus.
As we reported earlier, the owner of the hotel on the island of Rhodes went on a hunger strike due to exorbitant electricity bills. In an interview with the local newspaperRhodiacs» A woman who owns a small hotel in downtown Rhodes said she was unable to pay “inflated” electricity bills. When she approached the company for an installment plan, they cited a known energy issue and told her they couldn’t do it.
The last bill she received in February was for 5062 euros, and for January 4199 euros, while in the summer she paid no more than 900 euros per month with the same expense.
It should be noted that as an oppositional SYRIZAand IMF appealed to the current government of Greece with a proposal to ease tax policy, as the situation is fraught with a collapse of the economy and a sharp increase in unemployment.