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Electricity activists restore power to Greek families cut off by the state

Electricity activists restore power to Greek families cut off by the state
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When will we have electricity again, Mom? This is a question scores of Greek children are asking their parents as darkness falls.

Giorgos Kouzilos lights an oil lamp as darkness falls outside in what is becoming an everyday chore.

A government plan to restore electricity to Greece’s poorest families is expected to help approximately 10,000 households, but is is not nearly enough.

The massive task of restoring power is being held up by bureaucracy.

“The situation is really tough for my wife and mainly my children. We try to complete our daily activities such as helping our children with their homework during the daylight,” said Giorgos Kouzilos, a father struggling to raise a family in darkness.

Keratsini is a suburb in the southwest of Athens near the port of Piraeus and home to 91,000 people. According to the mayor, over the last three years, 10,000 homes have been disconnected.

“It is very difficult. I cook with camping gas. We preserve all the products that need to be kept in the fridge by putting them on the balcony.”

But for some families, help is at hand. A group of activists are secretly restoring power to families in need.

The activists see electricity as a public wealth. Their aim is to not to leave a single family in the dark. These citizen groups are defying the law and restoring power illegally. The movement has already helped 4,000 households.

Pantelis, a 55-year-old father of three is one of the luckier ones.

“I would like to thank the activists because they have restored electricity in my house. Now I can raise my children. They can do their homework and take a bath”

By stealth, these amateur electricians bring power to homes, risking possible arrest and prosecution.

“We are a movement of political defiance. We restore electricity in 15 houses per day. We help people suffering from poverty,” said one.

For the people of Keratsini, the renegade band of power activists are a lifeline.

Euronews journalist Michalis Arampatzoglou said: “According to Hellenic Distribution Network Operator, 350,000 connections will have been excluded from electrical power supply by the end of 2013. At least 40 percent of them are either being reconnected illegally or staying without electricity.”