ATHENS, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Public Power Corp. (PPC) , Greece’s dominant power utility which has been badly hit by unpaid bills, reported a 66 percent drop in nine-month net profit on Thursday, hurt by an energy crisis earlier this year and regulatory costs.
The utility, 51 percent owned by the state, said net profit came in at 23.8 million euros ($28.3 million) in the nine months to September, down from 69.5 million euros a year ago.
A one-off gain of 172.2 million euros from spinning off state grid ADMIE was partly offset by costs to deal with a power supply crisis in the early months of the year and to cover a deficit related to renewable energy.
PPC has been hurt by hefty provisions for bills left unpaid by Greeks facing financial hardship in recent years.
Along with several payment schemes and discounts, the utility has hired an advisor to help it collect the arrears which are estimated at 2.4 billion euros.
PPC said provisions for bad debt dropped by 105.5 million euros in the third quarter thanks to those actions, the first drop in recent years.
To help prop up PPC, Greece has decided to pay some 476 million euros for costs the utility took to supply power to the Greek islands and to clear all state arrears by June.
Sales dropped 6.8 percent to 3.77 billion euros as PPC, once a monopoly, has lost share in the retail market under a bailout-mandated liberalisation of the electricity sector and has offered discounts to clients who pay their bills on time. ($1 = 0.8422 euros) (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Keith Weir)