Greek Lights Out... Literally

Tyler Durden's picture

One for the "You can't make this stuff up" folder.

From Art Cashin:

Ya Can’t Make This Stuff Up - An interesting example of the problems in Greece may be seen in one of its recent attempts to collect taxes.


Property taxes were notoriously unpaid. The government decided to combine those taxes with your electric bill. The concept was simple. Pay your property taxes or your lights will be shut off.


The proposal brought outrage from the unions, who held mass demonstrations and sued in the courts. The courts put a stay on enforcement (putting the lights out) and questioned the whole concept.


The public, who had been paying their electric bills, refused to pay the new combined bills. Lacking any income, the power companies faced collapse. To avoid total chaos the government canceled the plan. What would Socrates think?

But does Greece at least have the ink to print tax forms yet?

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Spastica Rex's picture

What would Cato the Younger think?

GetZeeGold's picture



Smart's the future.



Hey, they don't call them smart meters for nothing. 

toady's picture

The bastards at the electric company are trying to force one of these on me, but everything in my Telecom background says they are highly hackable.

I guess I'll hold out as long as I can...

knightowl77's picture

....backup generators.....cheaper in the long run

The Big Ching-aso's picture



Every Greek household should have an emergency gyronator.

boiltherich's picture

OHMygod, you guys crack me up. 

Oh regional Indian's picture

A James, what?

Technocracy, it's already in resource conscious California... radiating smart meters, the two-fer.

Make you sick AND monitorable. But as a confirmed third worlder, I have to laugh. Living in Bangalore, India's shining ode to technology, I lose power for at least 2-3 hours on the acverage summer day. A medium sized storm can mean 4-6 hours without. That is the reality for most of the rest of the world who does not have "Safe" nuclear power as some significant portion of their energy supply.

Get used to it folks, this current paradigm in everything is collapsing. Like a cheap house of cards...about time too, but the trasition is going to be something to participate in and behold.

A good time to get used to imagining a different future. The Electric Grid is literally and figuratively living on borrowed time. Terriritic action, CME's, Hackers.....

See a pattern?



The Alarmist's picture

"What would Cato the Younger think?"

Athenae delenda est!

The Big Ching-aso's picture



"What would Socrates think?".................


Well for starters, I don't think he'd be raising his index finger.


toady's picture

Those €°^_=?¶¢ greeks, always using profanity.

CH1's picture

The bastards at the electric company are trying to force one of these on me

Smart meters have been disasters almost everywhere they've been tried.

I don't have links (sorry), but you can look it up.

aerojet's picture

Our "smart" water meter mysteriously bills me for the same exact amount every month!  I can't figure how exactly I could be using the exact same amount of water every single month for about the past six months.  Something is fucked up there.

Seer's picture

I had Verizon (wireless internet provider) bill me consecutively for over-usage on a 3G data service for the EXACT same number of bytes.  This was after I'd had them shift my service plan down to a lower data rate.  They claimed that it's "not unusual."  Rather than go to jail or waste any more of my precious time I decided to eat the charges.  Of course, these are the same lying bastards that I dealt with that claimed they didn't back up e-mail (they'd blitzed my e-mail) and that after hours traveling up their food chain had them admit that that was BS- they still made no effort to restore my e-mail.  If not for the fact that my ONLY other option for data communications is satellite I WOULDN'T touch Verizon with a gazillion-foot pole!

Anyway... I think that it's a good idea for people to be able to ACCURATELY monitor their resource usage (I've got a water meter on my private system; it's given me good data for planning a rainwater collection system [should I chose this route]).  And, I see nothing wrong with paying for what you use, BUT... this behemoth, centrally controlled corporate billing shit is nothing but trouble.

tabasco71's picture

Is there a minimum monthly payment level? ie: there is a standard monthly charge of £xx amount and only after you use more than that does the smart metering come into effect and you get charged for your precise usage.

Basically, if you don't use more than £xx of water a month then they cannot justify (make a return from) their own investment in the more hi-tech meters in the first place.

If this is the case, then you need to use more water to get the benefit of smart metering, or you could sue them for mis-selling you the kit in the first place?

Just thinking out loud...

boiltherich's picture

I had a very unlikely electric bill last December, it was $48 in October, $51 nov. $92 Dec. $56 Jan. $49 Feb, $46 Mar.  and if I had put up a tree or lights or used the heat a lot more or something I would not be surprised by the near double bill, but I did not.  I called PacPow and they swear it is a dumb meter.  They say it is not wrong, that people bake and cook more for the holidays and it was cold in Dec and do I even know how a heat pump functions anyway?  Insulting bullshit and lies.  December was not colder than any other month this winter, and several of my neighbors were complaining to the landlady that their bills were similar outlyers. 

I just think the power company has to add resources in December because of all the A-holes that bury their property in christmas lights and they fudge all the bills to pay for it.  But doubling my bill to pay for the usage of others?  Just another entity in my life I can no longer trust or expect honesty from.

aheady's picture

You're not alone. That's a common practice all over the state I live in - Virginia. We've all become used to it and roll over... Once or twice a year, an utterly inexplicable high electric bill - two to three times what it usually is. And we just shut up and pay it to avoid the hassle of trying to get a straight answer. Sickening.

Bananamerican's picture

when you're a monopoly utilty, every day is christmas

DCFusor's picture

Not to defend a power company - I've personally been off-grid since '79 here in Virginia - they only read the meters a couple of times a year - and that's why the odd super high bill - the rest are estimates...I know because their new guys sometimes come by and want to read my meter, heh.  So I show them the system, they all say "you can't live on that kind of power source" but obviously...I have been for 30+ years.

Now - with the old meters (and I'm no fan of the new ones either, I may start a hacking business for those) - you could run some of them all the way around, which really messes them up.  Or...A friend once took a couple months for walkabout, pulled his main breaker, and came back months later to a huge bill.  Since the meter hadn't moved at all - they assumed he'd run it all the way around, plus whatever he'd used since he got back.  Hosed, you really don't have much in the way of legal recourse.

And yes, there is a minimum power bill, but it's not honestly billed.  If you use no power, you find all these little system maintenance charges and taxes and such like - some of which disapear if they're selling you a lot of power that month, but which pop up like magic when they aren't otherwise getting their "entitlement".


Another trick they do - when there's a movement to allow us to sell power back into the grid, for whatever excuse it's only worth about 2c a kwh to them, even though they are charging about 13c kwh going the other way, and you pay those nasty system fees going both directions - here in Virginia.  As a Volt owner on the Volt network, I hear Arizona is a lot better that way FWIW.  When they can't defeat that law with lobbying (with their state guaranteed profits, sweet deal eh?) - they simply raise up all the system maintenance fees and sell power dirt cheap.  One of my neighbors fell for this and got a second jacuzzi and all electric heat.  Then they defeated the fair sellback law, and then they felt fine charging 15c a kwh again, and my neighbor had to default their mortgage due to the $500/month bills she then got.


Fuck them.  Get solar, and not that stupid microinverter sell back shit unless you live in AZ.  Get batteries and a real off-grid system.  When I started, I paid almost $10/watt for panels, and it paid off due to lower taxes and no electric bill in about 5 years (mostly the low taxes - did you know without power co power you're not a home, you're a barn and taxed like that?).


Now I just bought an upgrade to better charge my electric car - and it cost $1.47/watt.  Nice payback on that with gas what it is...and airconditioning now possible even on cloudy muggy days.  I didn't do one tiny bit of this to be green, really, that's just a free bonus that turns on some chicks.  I did it for *power over my own fricking life* and not to have to work to pay some entitlement bill to a state monopoly that gets a guaranteed profit just to be alive.

And it worked.  Having more money than you need is being rich.  The main thing riches buy you is being able to do what you want.  Pukes who live in the city, with a huge minimum living expense think it's about money because they are too stupid to realize you can live high in the boonies for a couple hundred a month by cutting the other half of the equation.

I'm telling ya - this way is better than just being rich enough to not mind being constantly ripped off - I can be proud, you can't, at least not honestly - you're the mark at the table, not me.  If some vegan chick wants to blow me because I'm green, well, I won't tell her otherwise till after I get off, is all.


OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

Good info here. Have you tried these Russian-made batteries that use nickel? They're supposed to last forever. They use them in railroad signalling and some have lasted more than 100 years. The big companies don't want you to know about them but they are still being made, I think in Georgia and China.

CPL's picture

Oh that's easy.  86 year old Armenian figured it out.  The techincal process is called a shovel.




Look for the R2D2 sized grey box on the side of the road in your area and back your truck up into it, or throw a chain around it and pull. 

Either way, the fibre optic cable in the neighbourhood will shatter because it is glass cable.  That should buy you a couple of months because all the cable will have to be replaced point to point.  Which costs a fortune and takes forever to get it done right.





Seer's picture

Whoa!  No redundancy?

Shows how fragile our System is.  Asymmetric warfare... not thinking the technical side is going to come out on top in the end.

kralizec's picture

I've held out for over a year.  So far I remain SkyNet free!

DCFusor's picture

Solar panels man.  Don't complain about the "service" you *demand* and how it's delivered.  Create your own.

Backup generators are much more expensive in the long run and still tie you to gasoline etc.  I know, I've been off the power grid since '79.  And since no power company means no building code enforcement, I pay taxes on "sheds" instead of "homes" which more than pays for all that very quickly.  They aren't named the power company for nothing - they have more than one kind of power and a lot of government has been delegated to them.  Stop feeding the beast.

Look for alt energy.

Mad Cow's picture

Do you fabricate your own solar panels man?

DCFusor's picture

No, but I made my racks and did my own system building and wiring.  I could make panels, but "they" can do it lots better and cheaper.

Weirdly enough, most of my panels were made by BP - you know, the oil spill guys, who with their great timing shut down the factory just before the spill - they made them "too good" and weren't making money once the chinese got into this.

The ones I just bought were Schott - a German company but with the plant here in NM - and they were $1.47 a watt - a hell of a lot cheaper.  The Chinese thin film panels are cheaper, but a rip as they only last a few years, and they use shell companies to go out of business rather than honor the warranty - ask Google about that one...they got totally fucked.

I use Xantrex main electronics for charge controllers and inverters - made by our friends in Canada.  I've got one that's run continuously since '79 - I can't even count the 9's of reliability since you have to have at least one failure to calculate that!

Screw the power company - don't feed them a monthly entitlement.  Screw green, this is about having power over your own life first.  I have just one bill - internet.  That's pocket change.  I don't have to work for a living anymore to keep a credit rating and bills up to date.  That's the real payoff.

PR Guy's picture

There are bastards everywhere .

krispkritter's picture

Can't we get smart politicians instead?


Oh, sorry. Contradiction in terms...

Sauk Leader's picture

Yes the smart way would be to not include the tax as a line item but hide it in the actual rate and not mention anything to the public.

The Big Ching-aso's picture



Even the great Archimedes would've been screwed over this taxing power debacle.

boiltherich's picture


Big Ching beat me to it. 

Wakanda's picture

What happened to his Principal?

boiltherich's picture

If Ben Franklin were alive today in Greece he would certainly just KITE a check to pay the power bill.

Wakanda's picture

He'd get a charge out of it!

Da55id's picture

...anybody want a peanut?

Seer's picture

"Can't we have people smart enough to NOT need/want/vote for politicians [and their corporate special interest baggage]?"


HarryM's picture

Attach the Tax bill to their Fire Insurance, if they don't pay , burn their house down

spanish inquisition's picture

The US already has that policy, but with a twist. If you don't pay and your house starts on fire, they won't put it out.

The Big Ching-aso's picture



Voltaire would've avoided charges, Georg Ohm would've resisted, & I bet Andre-Marie Ampere wouldn't have been current. 

Wakanda's picture

Ohm's law is pure resistance but is not current.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Ahhhaaaaahaha! Excellent.

I'm a sucker for Puns but that makes sense, because i'm a Punned-it.


Wakanda's picture

ORI has high capacitance!

Live, love, laugh!

killallthefiat's picture

Wow, what if you are a renter and your landlord does not pay that tax.  Fortunately, there is renter's insurance, but a big PITA to move.


BTW, all of the fire and flood contractors like A&I and Paul Davis are a bunch of crooks.  They know that there is insurance to be had, and run up the bills.  Caveat emptor.

Marginal Call's picture

It's only a big PITA to move when you have a bunch of stuff.   I can move quite easily with only an insurance check to pack.

Goldust's picture

You are 100% correct about the "restoration" contractors.  Skip them entirely and hire a regular contractor, and don't tell them that insurance is involved. 

battle axe's picture

A Greek Farce? Friggin crazy.