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Research Findings: “Do you actually know how much you spend on electricity?”


This was the title of the research, carried out for 19 weeks. It was conducted on line (on EKPIZO’s web site) as well as in its premises from 20th of May to 30th of September 2018. A random sample of 881 consumers was gathered both from members and non-members of EKPIZO.

The main goal of research was to register firstly, the behavior and the problems that consumers face in the liberalizing energy market, and secondly, the problem of energy poverty.

Results were announced on December 05, 2018, during a press conference that took place in Athens, on the General Secretariat for Trade and Consumer Protection premises by their courtesy. They were invited and attended other Ministries, the General Secretary for Trade and Consumer Protection staff, Representatives of National Regulatory Authority, journalists and NGO’s.


The most important findings of the research were the following:


1) Demographic data


  • More than 50% of the respondents were men (57,32%) and the rest 42,68% were women

  • Most of them were aged between 46-60 years old (48,01%)

  • 46,31% of them were fully employed (public or private employees)

  • 19,64% were retired

  • 13,17% were unemployed

  • 39,84% were university graduates and 21,68% post-graduate ones (holding masters or PhD degrees).

  • Almost 52% of them lived in Athens.


Residential data:


  • 65,49% lived in an apartment and

  • 75% of them owned the house they were living in.

  • More than half of them had of a house ranging between 50 to 99 sq mtr.

  • The majority (30%) lived in a household consisting of at least two.


2) Market of electric energy:


  • First among consumer preferences is DEH (Hellenic Public Power Cooperation S.A.), which has a clientele among our research participants of 85,24%

  • Participants were asked if other providers have approached them and 81,73% answered positively.

  • 150 individuals (17,03%) changed their energy provider,

  • The main reason of switching was the “better price” proposed by alternative providers (84,00%).

  • 727 (82,52%) consumers did not switch

  • The main reasons of not switching were “unreliable” alternative providers (53,37%),

  • The two main parameters that played a role in consumers’ assessment of a provider was “transparency of the contract” (89,67%) and “transparency of the electricity bill” (84,22%).


3) Electricity Bills1


  • Only 2,27% of the sample did not know the amount they spend on electricity over a four-month period (ACTUAL BILL based on actual reading).

  • 30,76%, spend 101- 200 euro for the same period.

  • 28,26% spend 201- 300 euro.

  • However, 34,96% they did not know how much electricity they consumed in kWh over a four-month period.

  • 27,92% answered that they consumed 801 to 1600 kWh.


As far as regulated charges2 are concerned consumers answers:


  • 78,21% do not know how the methods of charging are.

  • 88,76 consider their majority unfair and improper.

  • 51,53 did not know the percentage they pay for them.

  • 92,17% think that charges for third parties3should not be included in electricity bills and that they should be collected otherwise.


Timely payment of electricity bills


  • 40,60% was not able to be consistent in timely payment of their bills

  • 25,09% have made during the last year arrangements with electricity providers, so they can repay their debt in installments.

  • 5,79% experienced electricity disconnection due to unpaid bills


4) Energy poverty


  • 51,31% of respondents spend 10% of their annual family income for their energy needs

  • 89,96% use conventional energy sources (petroleum, lignite, coal, natural gas)

  • 13,04% use renewable sources of energy

  • 75,14% have taken steps towards energy saving {mainly on lighting by replacing bulbs (30,85%), on proper use of electric energy e.g. proper shading, temperature control, proper use of energy-consuming appliances (25,38%) and use of night-time tariffs (21,29%)}.

  • 15,94% proceeded with renewable energy installations, energy upgrades of houses and installing smart meters


Use of heating equipment by geographic area:


  • In REGION 1, in Athens electric power (35,86%), petroleum (30,05%) and natural gas (13,41%) are ranking high.

  • In REGION 2 (Thrace, Macedonia, Thessalia, Mainland Greece/Sterea Ellada and Epirus), the top 3 heating equipment is: petroleum (29,11%), electric power (28,48%) and natural gas (17,09%),

  • In REGION 3 (Greek Islands) it is electric power (31,78%), petroleum (28,97%) and fireplace (19,63%). What is noteworthy is the significantly higher percentage that use of natural gas has in REGION 2, and the almost zero presence of this source of heating in REGION 3, where the use of fireplace (19,63%) and stove (11,21%) is far more popular that in other two areas. A further key observation is that when the use of natural gas is a choice available to consumers, they seem to prefer it as a sole source of heating.



Conclusions - Recommendations


  • Lack of trust from consumers towards energy suppliers. Suppliers should adopt better practices in order to approach consumers, such as clear and precise information, transparency in general contractual terms and conditions, in the bills, in customer service. Also, energy & environmental responsibility and sensitivity.

  • Consumers’ lack of information and education. Action should be taken from the state, competent bodies and consumer organizations towards focused and systematic activities to bridge the gap. There is a need to develop a plan of environmental awareness rising, of increased green sources energy use, and provision of the appropriate incentives.

  • Difficulties concerning the reading and understanding of electricity bills. Suppliers should be obliged to provide simple and comprehensive bills, as well as legal contracts.

  • Inability to pay electricity bills in due time. Most of the regulated charges are unfair, unreasonable and they put an extra burden on the bill. So our proposal is that bills should be limited in charges for the use of energy power and only that. There is an urgent need to have charges for third parties out of electricity bills.

  • Energy poverty and energy exclusion. Measures for energy saving should focus on energy upgrading of houses, installation of smart meters, and systems that will take advantage of solar energy. National aids such as the Petroleum heating benefit, the Social Residential Tariff (SRT) and Social Income of Solidarity for households address the needs of a very limited number of citizens and they are not incentives for a proper energy use.

  • Empowerment of citizens. Citizens should be encouraged mainly through economic incentives with national aids such as “Saving at Home program” offering subsidies to property owners for domestic energy efficiency upgrades in the residential building sector aiming mainly at reducing the energy needs of buildings and achieving a cleaner environment, also, producing and promoting the use of renewable energy sources at local level (self-production), as well as promoting entrepreneurship (energy communities), so that consumers can be part of the development of projects of energy saving and production of clean energy.


General Remarks for Consumers


All consumers should be in a position to make full use of the opportunities offered in the liberated market of energy and to feel that they participate and enjoy benefits from being able to access safe, clean and competitive energy.


At national level, elimination of market distortions and transition to clean energy in a balanced manner consist a complex challenge; addressing this challenge is an imperative need, not a choice. Enhancing consumer awareness and activation is the key towards that goal and the desired change, and all stakeholders involved should cooperate in order to achieve it.


1 A brief information referring to the fields on electricity bill: https://www.dei.gr/en/oikiakoi-pelates/o-logariasmos-sas/epeksigisi-neou-logariasmou


2 [Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO), Electricity Distribution Network (HEDNO), Services of General Interest (SGI), such as power supply to customers of the non-interconnected islands and provision of special tariffs to large families and beneficiaries of the Social Residential Tariff (KOT), Special Duty of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction (ETMEAR)]


3Municipal charges which are calculated in each Bill whether it is an Actual or an Estimated Bill, other charges imposed by the legislation of good operation of the Market, as well as fees for ERT (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation Societe Anonyme.


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