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Greece’s Government Under Fire Over Snowstorm Blackout

Parliament of Greece under snow
The Greek government is under fire following the massive blackout. Credit: Odysseas Karadis/Greek Reporter

Opposition parties in Greece launched an all-out attack against the government over its handling of the blackout chaos following the snowstorm that hit the country earlier in the week.

A total of 8,000 households in the region of Attica remained without power on Thursday morning.

During the worst part of the storm, a total of 70,000 households in Attica and 15,000 in Evia were left without power — and some even without water.

“No one will rest, no one will sleep…We will all remain here, until the last neighborhood of Attica has electricity,” Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said late Wednesday.

“Chaos and incompetence”

Opposition parties are blaming the government for incompetence and for its shifting the responsibility onto regional authorities or the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (DEDDIE).

They called on PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis to assume responsibility for the problems that occurred.

“The chaos and the ‘executive’ incompetence bear the Prime Minister’s signature,” said main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance in an announcement on Thursday.

The main opposition party stated that there are households that have been without electricity for four consecutive days, while Mitsotakis expressed “irritation” at the “ping-pong of responsibilities” between officials.

The citizens, SYRIZA added, are paying the price for “the Prime Minister’s ping-pong between carelessness and incompetence.”

“Total failure”

Opposition Movement for Change (KINAL) leader Fofi Gennimata said that “Mr. Mitsotakis washes his hands of the failure of his allegedly ‘executive’ state.

“He did not dare assume his responsibilities and poses like Pontius Pilate over the ping pong of responsibilities from his ministers.”

Gennimata added that the government “can’t hide the reality and its total failure.”

She accused the civil protection agency leadership, saying that “once again it looked on as a passive observer.”

Blame game in Greece

Given that most of the problems in the power grid (90%) were caused by falling trees, a public debate raged on Wednesday as to who was ultimately responsible.

Several mayors blame power distribution operator DEDDIE, saying that there was never a request for pruning trees located near power lines.

Others claim that the pruning of the trees is the exclusive responsibility of the local authorities.

They argue that they should have taken the appropriate actions before the wintry weather arrived.

7,000 still without power as of Thursday evening

A total of 7,000 households were still out of power in North Attica suburbs due to the heavy snowstorm earlier in the week, said the power distribution network operator DEDDIE on Thursday.

Some 70,000 households and businesses across the Attica Region had been out of power on Wednesday. Power was restored to 90 percent of these by Thursday afternoon, noted DEDDIE. Power has been partially restored in the Ekali, Dionyssos, Agios Stefanos, Kryoneri, Anixi, Drossia and Kalamos.

Residents who are still dealing with power supply problems can contact DEDDIE at 11500 or 211-1900500, on MyDEDDiE app, or on the company website at deddie.gr.

 Cold front eases

Temperatures in Greece recovered somewhat on Thursday but are still very low.

According to the National Observatory of Athens’ weather service meteo.gr, the lowest temperature was recorded in Neos Kafkasos, Florina, where it went as low as -11.4C (11 degrees Fahrenheit).

It was followed by the towns of Florina with -9.2C and Ptolemaida with -8.3C, and Askyfou in Chania, Crete with -6.8C.

Tzermiado in the Lassithi region of Crete with -6.8C, Kilada, in Kozani, with -6.5C and Mavrolithari in the Fokida region with -5.9C, followed.

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