The vast majority of Athens residents live in blocks of flats (a.k.a. 'apartment blocks') regardless of economic or social status. The domestic migration to urban centers, and mainly Athens, that took place from the 1950's to about 1980 has resulted in a scarcity of land. Most single houses have been torn down and sold to developers, to make room for apartment blocks. So, when winter comes and you want to warm yourself, you need to work out a deal with the other tenants (or owners) of your apartment block as there's a central heating system, pumping hot water through pipes running all over the building.
|Heating body / Radiator in Athens apartment|
The law sure has provisions on the subject, but in the middle of a deep economic crisis, with incomes severly diminished (or entirely cut off) for almost everyone, and with a wave of taxes on heating oil and hikes (lesser ones) in the price of electricity, things get complicated. People will prefer to forego their heating (and bill) as it is no longer considered a bare necessity in these circumstances. I have heard of many apartment blocks where tenants have collectively agreed to not buy heating oil this winter. And I'm talking about "middle-class" neighborhoods. They will, instead, rely on using their electric heating appliances, when absolutely necessary. I have my doubts about how efficient this will turn out to be, heating-wise, but it gives you a clear sign of the challenges people face these days.
|Temperature control for individually heated apartment|
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