Public Power Corp SA (PPC), Greece’s biggest electricity company, will make longer power cuts between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. local time today to balance demand as workers strike for a fifth day.
PPC, as the company is called, said it sought to have the strike by unions declared “illegal and abusive”. A court will hear the appeal today at 2:30 p.m., according to an e-mailed statement from the Athens-based utility.
The power outages are hurting Greek businesses, already struggling as a result of Greece’s economic crisis, the National Confederation of Commerce said in an e-mailed statement a day after the strike began.
The Thessaloniki Federation of Professional Merchants, another trade group, sent a letter to the union, known as Genop, urging it to suspend power outages, according to an e-mailed statement sent today. The group said it may seek financial compensation from the union through legal action if the power blackouts continue.
“We are not opposed to demonstrations, provided they do not harm other sectors of the national economy already plagued by the current economic crisis,” the group said in the statement.
Genop began 48-hour rolling strikes on June 20 to protest government plans to reduce its stake in the company to 34 percent from 51 percent. The divestment is part of a state asset sale program that aims to raise 50 billion euros ($72 billion) through 2015. Parliament is expected to vote on the asset sale program next week.
PPC said it will cut electricity for periods of as long as 90 minutes today throughout the country, compared to one-hour periods in the four previous days. The number of areas in mainland Greece facing power outages, including neighborhoods in Athens and Thessaloniki, has more than doubled, according to an e-mailed statement from the company.
PPC asked consumers to limit consumption during peak hours, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., according to the statement. Power will be cut in some parts of Crete and Rhodes during peak periods in the evening, PPC said.
Three additional units amounting to 750 megawatts are offline due to the strike and one unit of 270 MW is offline due to damage, the Athens-based company said. PPC said June 20 that nine of its units with a total power producing capacity of 2,500 megawatts were unable to operate owing to the strike, while another seven units with 1,000 megawatts of capacity were unable to re-enter service after a scheduled shut-down.