The first occasion you are likely to come across the electricity supply in Crete is from the public utility known as DEH when you buy a property or rent a home on Crete or anywhere else in Greece. The electricity bill covers both usage of electricity, the local municipal council rates and the fee to fund state broadcaster, EPT the Greek state broadcaster - like the BBC in Britain. When it comes to the Domestic Water Supply , each Town Hall in a Municipality is responsible for supply to its own inhabitants.
DEH electricity charges and billing are based on a quarterly assessment, calculated on matching meter reading dates. You receive a bill, basically every other month (six week intervals allowing for public holidays etc). The first bill arrives via the postman after the end of the quarter in question. Half way through the next an assessed usage bill comes through the letter box based on the previous consumption rate. There are several levels of usage on which charges are based - across the whole quarter The DEH (ΔΕΗ Α.Ε ) link further down the page will explain in English the variation in peak and off peak hours between Winter and Summer.
The electricity company, DEH is understanding and tends to have a lenient policy towards late paying customers. If you don't pay the bill in a reasonable time, you will eventually get cut off! If you are on a tight budget, the key is to call in to your local Electric (or Telephone Company) Office and ask what your bill currently stands at, then pay some, or most of it off. That way you're always ahead of the game and should not get cut off. (Local residents say DEH does not take action if the billing total amount is under €90).
DEH has an excellent special billing system of allowing for long periods of absence by owners from their Greek homes (i.e. holiday homes). About one month before an owner will be away (usually for the wintertime period) go into a local DEH customer service centre. Tell them you will be away and for how many months and they will make a special calculation. This calculation will be much less than otherwise would be the case in not telling them, by just leaving the house empty. Be sure to check your meter reading in the morning as DEH staff will wish to know it. DEH (ΔΕΗ Α.Ε ) Customer Service Hotline (from a fixed line telephone) Tel: 10500 .
During 2005/2006, standing instructions payments with a number of banks was promoted by the utility companies in Crete. Previously this was not possible. So, you can now set those up through your local Crete bank account.
Bills can be paid at any Post Office, and over the counter at your bank but watch out for what can seem a hefty handling fee plus VAT.
DEH has its own payment offices in main towns, where you can settle the bill with no service charge.
DEH (ΔΕΗ Α.Ε ) Power Cuts or "outages" can be frequent in Crete lasting from a split second to a few hours. Between 2007 and 2010, the situation has been getting much better. A massive updating of the distribution network within towns and villages and a massive upgrading of the main power station have reduced cuts (in my village to averaging once a month - better than the 3-5 a mnth before). If you typically have expensive electronic gear - such as dvd, LCD TV - do yourself a favour and protect your equipment from power surges and purchase a Belkin UPS Power Management System, as "Dirty Mains" can be the cause of the loss of your Computer Hard Drive and all the data on it. The Belkin units also have a version that includes telephone socket breakers as well. Crete suffers from local thunderstorms throughout the year and it is not unknown for telephone cables to conduct a lightening strike, knocking out your telephone line. Do not use your computer during a thunderstorm!
++Guide to Latest Crete electricity costs.
++DEH - Current Electric Company website in English.
Note: Deregulation of the electricity industry was supposed to give consumers a choice of supplier. By November, 2011, this had yet to happen in Crete.
Water supply is the responsibility of the local municipality in which you live. If you are in a town or village then dealing with the local Mayor's office will be straight forward for "domestic" water supply. This will be different when it comes to land outside the limits of the village or town, or if you happen to own an olive grove within the boundary. Water supply then becomes an agricultural matter and should be taken care of at the time you purchase your property and in your contract to purchase, or the landlord will have arranged it in the case of a rental property. This can be a complex matter and should be followed up appropriately.
A Bit Weird, Isn't It?
Well actually no. Insisting that only natural waste matter goes down the small diameter soil pipe and not the paper and other things that find their way into the toilet bowl, has kept Crete's and Greece's thousands of kilometres of coastline relatively free from sea borne pollution. So while on hottest of days, the paper bin depository next to the toilet seat, may be a bit pongy (stinks), it is but a small price to pay and better than polluting the coast. With Crete's one million tourists a year since the 1970s visiting the island, we should be thankful that a simple idea of separating, then burning used toilet paper, instead of flushing it, has helped preserve Crete's generally good record on controlling pollution.