Electricity

Government in Athens doubles subsidies to protect households during energy crisis

Greece doubles subsidies households electricity heating EUR 500 million

Photo: Ministry of the Environment and Energy

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October 11, 2021

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October 11, 2021

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Minister of the Environment and Energy of Greece Kostas Skrekas announced the electricity and heating costs for households would grow only marginally. The funds earmarked for the mitigation of the energy crisis were doubled from the initial sum to almost EUR 500 million for the period until the end of the year, due to the ongoing increase in prices.

The government in Athens was one of the first in Europe to introduce emergency measures for the protection of households, especially those at risk of energy poverty, from the spike in prices of electricity, gas and heating fuels. As energy costs kept rising throughout September, the Ministry of the Environment and Energy said the subsidies would be doubled to nearly EUR 500 million.

Moreover, Greece is setting up a permanent mechanism for future disturbances in the energy market and working with the European Union on a system that could be implemented in all member states. Minister Kostas Skrekas vowed to direct more funds next year for the purpose if it is necessary.

Subsidies to be funded with revenue from carbon emission permits

The government initially earmarked EUR 150 million for the new Energy Transition Fund. Due to the rise in energy costs for households in the meantime, it decided to boost it to EUR 400 million. The funds will be drawn from the revenue from the sale of carbon certificates within the EU’s Emissions Trading System or EU ETS.

The government is creating a war chest with subsidies for electricity of EUR 326 million and another EUR 168 million for heating

The subsidies for households will be disbursed via energy suppliers. There is EUR 326 million in the war chest for electricity and another EUR 168 million for heating fuels, including wood and pellets.

Skrekas said electricity bills would rise by only EUR 2 to EUR 3 per month while that poorer households won’t see any change at all. He revealed the discounts for household consumption would be expanded to 600 kWh from the current 300 kWh.

Skrekas: We will not leave any household or any Greek unprotected

“The government mobilized immediately to compensate for the effects of the international energy crisis. The measures we take create an effective protection grid for society as a whole. Our message is clear: in this unprecedented intensity and duration of energy crisis, we will not leave any household or any Greek unprotected,” Skrekas stressed.

Greece intends to prevent any increase in energy costs for low-income households by the end of the year

He explained the average wholesale price of electricity in the country grew from EUR 100 per MWh, when the first emergency measures were designed, to more than EUR 130 EUR per MWh. The subsidy will therefore be doubled to EUR 60 per MWh or up to EUR 18 for each monthly power bill on average through the end of the year for households for the consumption of a maximum of 300 kWh.

Poorer households are eligible for as much as EUR 24 per month. Furthermore, the government said it is preparing to pay emergency financial support to low-income households for Christmas if there is no change in energy costs.

An automatic subsidy for all households, which is being developed, is supposed to be triggered in case of a rise of the wholesale electricity price above a predetermined level.

More gas subsidies by June

Greece’s government-controlled gas supplier DEPA Commercial or DEPA Commerce, which is about to be sold, is introducing a 15% discount for households and providing the fuel to competitors at discounted prices. Skrekas said the volumes at storage facilities are “very limited compared to last year” but he also promised to roll out more aid by June.

The government earmarked EUR 100 million even before the energy crisis for solar power plants to supply electricity to poor households. Outlining the new measures, Skrekas said the goal is to bolster the share of renewable sources in electricity production in Greece to 70% by 2030.

The government also vowed to prevent the growth in energy costs at utilities such as waterworks and sewerage firms to spill over to consumers.

EU countries so far announced energy crisis aid to households of more than EUR 10 billion and interventions are underway also for the corporate sector, especially small and medium-sized enterprises. On the other hand, the rise in bills and costs this winter in both categories was expected to exceed EUR 100 billion already in mid-September, and prices kept increasing in the meantime.

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