Consumers to get discounted electricity bills

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Consumers will see an end to rising electricity bills, as the government appears adamant about ensuring the Electricity Authority introduces a discount on bills in the coming months.

On Wednesday, Energy Minister Natasa Pilides and Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides will meet the board of EAC to discuss the price hikes, which have raised a storm of protests from the public.

The meeting is a formality as the government has decided to impose a discount, with any losses being absorbed by the EAC’s surplus.

This August, Cypriots dug deeper into their pockets to pay their electricity bills after rising fuel prices pushed annual costs up by an average of 38.17%, reaching the pre-coronavirus price hike levels of 2018 and 2019.

Last week, the EAC said the historically low energy prices in 2020 were highly unusual, as the authority had imposed a six-month discount on bills in light of the lockdown imposed due to the pandemic.

It argued the spike in prices this year was down to increases in the cost of fuel recorded as the world came out of strict lockdown measures.

There has not been an official statement on the discount; reports suggest a 10% discount will be introduced, as was the case during the first months of the outbreak.

The issue was taken up with the energy regulator on Tuesday by President Anastasiades, Pilides and Petrides.

The discount is expected to last for a few months and be covered by the authority’s financial reserves.

It has €400 mln in reserves, with the 10% discount costing an estimated €5 mln.

EAC board members have voiced some objections, but they are not expected to be an obstacle to introducing the discount, as all major political parties and trade unions are on the same page.

Pilides said that the government was determined to halt the hike in electricity bills.

Following a meeting with main opposition party AKEL representatives on Tuesday, Pilides said: “The government aims to implement a strategy, which will have an immediate effect on the increased prices of electricity, but also to plan for the long-term, to achieve the transition to green energy”.

“We need to move towards green energy in a way that is beneficial to the consumer but also ensures that we protect the environment and make a proper contribution to the European Union’s green deal.”