The Cyprus Consumers Association on Monday slammed the government for failing to effectively address electricity bill price hikes, arguing it is “unwilling to spend a single euro from state coffers for the relief of its people”.
Last week, Energy Minister Natasa Pilides announced a 10% discount for households and businesses over the next four months, pledging to further savings from renewable energy schemes.
However, the consumers’ association challenged the move, saying that, in reality, the state will not be putting its hand in its pocket to address the matter.
In a statement issued on Monday, the association said: “The state will receive over €20 mln for 2021 just from VAT on increased fuel prices, none of which will be disbursed for the relief of those affected”.
“The Cyprus Consumers Association expected, and still expects, this €20 mln will be returned to consumers in the form of another 10% discount, amounting to a total of 20%,” said the association.
It argued that other countries were giving discounts of over 20% on power bills.
“Do Cyprus citizens not deserve this kind of help and support?” it asked.
The association also argued that measures announced for promoting renewable energy projects would not cost the state anything.
The renewable energy fund is financed through taxes paid by consumers through electricity bills, and putting these funds to use is among the energy ministry’s responsibilities.
Pilides said the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) would be absorbing part of the cost caused by rising fuel prices and emissions fines.
She said the government would also be rolling out a series of measures to provide consumers with the means of permanently reducing the cost of power.
They include encouraging people to install photovoltaic systems, introducing virtual net metering; subsidies will also be given to vulnerable groups to replace their home appliances with more energy-efficient ones.
There was a public outcry over electricity prices after rising fuel prices pushed annual costs up by an average of 38.17% in August.