Electricity

Serbia issues decree to expand list of energy consumers eligible for aid

Serbia issues decree to expand list of energy consumers eligible for aid

Photo: Government of Serbia

Published

December 9, 2022

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Published:

December 9, 2022

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The Government of Serbia defined the categories of citizens who have the right to subsidies for their energy bills. The cabinet updated the Decree on Energy Vulnerable Customer and earmarked EUR 34.1 million in total for the purpose.

Within the reforms in the energy sector, which are aimed at increasing prices to sustainable levels and obtaining funds for the energy transition, Serbia also plans to combat energy poverty and protect the affected households. The energy crisis has worsened their vulnerability. At the same time, small businesses are struggling to cope with rising energy prices.

After its last meeting, the Government of Serbia said it passed the Decree on Energy Vulnerable Customer and that it defines the categories of citizens eligible for a reduction in electricity bills. Together with updating the ordinance, the cabinet said it would cover the subsidies with EUR 12.8 million.

The Ministry of Mining and Energy said later that the overall sum is EUR 34.1 million, compared to EUR 11.1 million in the previous round, and that it includes aid for gas and heating.

There was no word in the announcement on upcoming EU grants of EUR 165 million, which include support for beleaguered businesses

The European Union has just approved an emergency aid package for the Western Balkans, worth EUR 500 million and available in January. Serbia’s share in the grants is EUR 165 million. They are intended for subsidizing households and small and medium-sized firms under severe risk from the energy crisis.

The long-awaited decree primarily refers to the recipients of welfare aid and children’s bonus allowance and to lowest-income households, the government said. The criteria for obtaining aid were loosened to include more households in the program, the ministry explained. It claimed the decree would expand the scheme to 191,000 from 68,000 dwellings.

For the first time, vulnerable households can have their heating bill reduced – by 40% to 60%, depending on the number of people. Local authorities are now obligated to deliver data on vulnerable energy customers every month to the supplier, according to the announcement.

The updated decree primarily covers the recipients of welfare aid and children’s bonus allowance together with lowest-income households

Back in May, the then-Minister of Energy Zorana Mihajlović claimed 200,000 households would be eligible for subsidies for electricity bills when the decree is adopted, compared with 1,500 for gas and 50,000 dwellings that were set to get aid for heat costs. In the government’s statement on the updated document, which is still unavailable, there was no word on the upcoming EU grants.

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